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Congress Members Lowenthal, McClain, introduce legislation to create national labeling standard for non-flushable wet wipes

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), today, joined with Congresswoman Lisa McClain (MI-10) to introduce bipartisan legislation to create a national standard for the labeling of non-flushable wet wipes. This common-sense standard would address the growing problem of these wipes being flushed into and creating obstructions in public sewer, stormwater, and wastewater systems. The bill is known as the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act, or the WIPPES Act.

The WIPPES Act would require manufacturers of non-flushable wet wipes to clearly and prominently display a “DO NOT FLUSH” label on their packaging and would set fines for manufacturers that do not follow the regulation. The bill would also create an education program to inform consumers of the meaning of the new labeling, why the new labeling is required, and the adverse impact of these wipes on water infrastructure systems when flushed.

“The problem of flushed wet wipes has created tremendous problems for our water infrastructure for many years and is just one facet of our growing glowing plastics waste pollution crisis,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “The WIPPES Act would provide consumers with the information they need to properly dispose of these wipes, and in doing so protect our water infrastructure and our environment.”

While wet wipe products have proliferated, many consumers do not know that many of these products do not rapidly breakdown or decompose and should not be flushed. Non-flushable wipes that are flushed have led to a major increase in clogged sewer and septic systems, damaged wastewater treatment facilities, and an increase in plastic micro-fibers from the wipes making their way through the wastewater system and back into the environment.

“Too often, false marketing leads people to flush wipes that are not safe for our plumbing infrastructure,” Congresswoman McClain said. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation, which is key to maintaining and protecting our sewage systems.”

The bill is supported by national, state and local sanitation, public water, and clean water agencies and organizations, including the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA), the Orange County Sanitation Districts, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, the National Rural Water Association, the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), the Ocean Conservancy, Greenpeace US, and the Surfrider Foundation.

“On behalf of the hundreds of publicly-owned treatment works NACWA represents nationwide, I applaud Reps. Lowenthal and McClain for their bipartisan legislation to require Do Not Flush labeling on non-flushable wet wipes,” National Association of Clean Water Agencies CEO Adam Krantz said. “Non-flushable wipes do not break down as they travel through the sewer system, resulting in clogs and blockages that cost public utilities money, put workers at risk, and cause environmental harm. Simply put, Toilets are Not Trashcans. The Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act would require labeling for non-flushable wet wipes, a reasonable approach to protect homeowners, wastewater infrastructure, and the environment. NACWA looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to advance this important legislation.”

“We applaud Representatives Alan Lowenthal and Lisa McClain for introducing the WIPPES Act,” Executive Director of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies Adam Link said. “This bipartisan legislation addresses a problem that has plagued local clean water agencies’ efforts to improve water quality for years. Consumers have been unwittingly and improperly disposing these single use, synthetic wipes by flushing them into sewers that then clog pipes, pumps, and treatment equipment. This bipartisan legislation is a commonsense approach to informing citizens on how to properly dispose of wipes and protect the billions of dollars ratepayers have invested to clean up our waterways and protect public health.”

“We applaud Representatives Lowenthal and McClain for their work on the issue of non-dispersible wipes in particular the proper labeling of wipes that are non-flushable,” Orange County Sanitation Board Chairman John B. Withers said. “The flushing of wipes can not only cause great damage to our infrastructure they can also have unintended effects on the surrounding environment by shedding microplastics into the wastewater system that can ultimately be discharged to the aquatic environment.”

“Many disposable wipes cause problems when flushed,” Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts Chief Engineer and General Manager Robert C. Ferrante said. “They can clog the pipes in your home and sewer system leading to sewage overflows and costly maintenance. The WIPPES Act will require prominent labeling for wipes that should not be flushed. We thank Representatives Alan Lowenthal and Lisa McClain for their leadership in introducing this important legislation to protect water quality”

To read the full text of the bill, click here (pdf).

Congressman Alan Lowenthal represents the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove, Buena Park, Anaheim, Midway City and Stanton in California’s 47th Congressional District.

The article above was released by the office of Congressman Alan Lowenthal (DCA-47).

2 Comments

  1. Once again, Rep. Lowenthal shows where his priorities are. Thanks to Marxist Democrats led by the (dementia) Biden administration, the southern border is wide open. The influx of ILLEGAL ALIENS brings people with the virus who are spreading it throughout the United States. But hey, those ILLEGAL ALIENS might vote Democrat, so let them all in! But keep the Cubans out because they might vote Republican. Inflation is creeping up as we see each week at the gas pump and in the supermarket. Keep paying people NOT to work and by the time businesses do find employees, Democrat governors like Newsom will call for another lockdown. Afghanistan is going to the evil Taliban. Crime is rampant is major Democrat-led cities. But hey, let’s focus on our butts and create a national standard for the labeling of non-flushable wet wipes. It makes sense because Lowenthal is the BUTT of so many jokes!

  2. Really? We have real problems in the country and this clown is worried about flushable wipes.I have no doubt that this is a real concern but as usual Mr. Lowenthal is more worried about the small stuff than making a real difference.
    Please, please, please – my hope is that with redistricting, Cypress will finally be rid of this guy. Let him go back to only representing his Long Beach liberals and let’s get a representative here for our Orange County concerns.

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