March 17, 2022
The National Special Districts Coalition supports federal legislation that would create labeling standards for non-flushable wet wipes and foster public awareness of the wipes' impacts on wastewater infrastructure.
H.R. 4602 (Lowenthal), the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act, is a bipartisan effort that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Trade Commission to collaboratively develop standards for non-flushable wipe manufacturers to print "Do Not Flush" labels on packaging. The legislation would allow violations to be considered "unfair or deceptive acts or practices" and subject to Federal Trade Commission fines. The legislation would also establish a mechanism for guidance on public awareness campaigns for manufacturers to promote public awareness of the wipes' impacts on wastewater systems and rationale for the packaging labels.
More than 3,200 special districts across the nation provide wastewater treatment services with many experiencing increasing repair and maintenance costs due clogs, blockages and other environmental concerns stemming from improper disposal of the wipes. Currently, packaging lacks clear labeling of its non-flushable characteristics and the harm of improper disposal. The result is a tighter squeeze on public agencies' operating costs – collectively approaching a half billion dollars in 2019.
NSDC sent on Thursday a letter in support of the WIPPES Act to Congressman Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., who introduced the bipartisan WIPPES Act on July 21, 2021, and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce where it awaits further action.
Contact Cole Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Coordinator, for additional information.