"Do Not Flush" Disposable Wipe Law Goes into Effect in Washington

July 13, 2022
These disposable wipes are a nuisance, clogging pipes and creating wastewater overflows to waterways.

The Washington Association of Sewer & Water Districts implemented a new "Do Not Flush" law July 1.

According to the agency, July 1 is the date that the “Do Not Flush” symbol must be on packaging of disposable wipes products sold in Washington, reported Renton Reporter. This includes baby wipes and cleaning wipes. The goal is to benefit the environment, wastewater infrastructure, and residents throughout the state, added the agency.

These disposable wipes are a nuisance, clogging pipes and creating wastewater overflows to waterways.

The law was originally passed in 2020. Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon is the primary sponsor. 

“Utilities across the country spent an estimated $440 million in a year removing clogs caused by improperly flushed single-use wipes products. Here in Washington state is no exception,” said Judi Gladstone, WASWD Executive Director, reported Renton Reporter. “Proper disposal of wipes in the trash can is the easiest way to help our planet and help our community at the same time.”

Additionally, according to Renton Reporter, "community wastewater systems these products can congeal with fats, oils, and grease to create concrete-like masses known as fatbergs. This can result in sewage spills, contamination of the environment, and infrastructure damage at wastewater facilities."

WASWD notes that these clogs inconvenience community residents’ budgets, as they have to repair the damage caused by flushing disposable wipes.

According to Renton Reporter, approximately 60% of consumers note that they have disposed of something non-flushable in the toilet during the previous year in a 2021 survey conducted by WASWD, Association of Washington Cities, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, and the Responsible Flushing Alliance.

“We are hopeful that this new labeling of disposable wipes will help reduce the practice of flushing wipes that cause so many problems in our wastewater systems,” Gladstone added, reported Renton Reporter. 

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Cristina Tuser

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