Wipes Manufacturer Agrees to Stop Using the Flushable Claim

WSSC Supports FTC Consent Agreement with Nice-Pak

| News Release

OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Laurel – June 23, 2015: WSSC has been saying it for years; keep the wipes out of the pipes! Many wipes are marketed as "flushable," yet literally tons of still intact wipes wreak havoc on wastewater pumping stations every year. Many wipes don’t break apart like toilet paper and clog pumps in the wastewater treatment process.

WSSC has spent $1.4 million to install grinders at wastewater pumping stations to address the problem of wipes that don’t break apart.

In a recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Nice-Pak Products, Inc. has agreed to stop advertising moist toilet tissue as flushable unless it can substantiate that the product is safe to flush. According to the FTC, "the evidence didn’t back up Nice-Pak’s claim that their wipes were safe to flush," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

While the name Nice-Pak might not ring a bell with most consumers, it’s important to note that Nice-Pak manufactures wipes that are sold by national retailers including Costco, CVS, Target and BJ’s under a variety of private label names.

WSSC General Manager/CEO Jerry N. Johnson submitted a letter in support of the FTC’s Consent Agreement with Nice-Pak. “The use of ‘flushable’ wet wipes, like those manufactured by Nice-Pak Products, Inc. has negatively impacted WSSC’s sewer system,” Johnson wrote. He went on to say “the result can be system failures that potentially cause raw sewage leakages that result in soil and water contamination that may jeopardize public health.”

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has led the wastewater industry in discussions with manufacturers on appropriate standards and labeling for wet wipes. WSSC has been involved in those discussions.

The Federal Trade Commission vote issuing the complaint and approving the proposed consent order against Nice-Pak was 5-0. The FTC held a 30-day public comment period, which ended on June 19, 2015. The FTC will review the comments in the coming months and then decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.

 

For 100 years, WSSC has proudly served the citizens of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties – providing drinking water that has always met strict Safe Drinking Water Act standards and protecting the environment through vital water resource recovery services. Our vision is to be THE world-class water utility, where excellent products and services are always on tap.

 

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