FIFTEEN YEARS OF LOBBYING AND 'FLUSHABILITY' STILL NOT STANDARDIZED
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by Jan Rose
The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) in partnership with the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group has realized 20% of its $150,000 goal towards development, adoption and implementation of a Canadian standard for 'Flushability'.
In a progress report dated October 2017, the CWWA wrote the purpose is to develop standards, regulations or official definitions of what is and what is not “flushable.” Currently, none of those exists, particularly the definition of the term “flushable.”
CWWA spokesperson Kara Parisien said the “problem right now is that a lot of products are rated as flushable, especially flushable wipes or like Kandoo (flushable toilet wipes). A lot of
those, although they are labelled as dissoluble, don't dissolve in water.”
From "maintenance to equipment damage to clogs and system failures to contamination of sludge" the cost to municipalities is $250 million annually.
"Some companies do a good job. Their products do break down," Parisien said.
"We've been lobbying the government for 10 to 15 years," she said. Part of the reason for inaction, she believes, is that the industry prefers to take the lead in standard programs but doesn't. And if they do, they want it to be an industry-led program with their own criteria to determine 'flushability.'
There have been various attempts to make progress towards development of technical specifications. An ISO (international standard) initiative in 2014 by Canada made considerable progress but was halted when near completion by a challenge from the manufacturers, who were a party to the initiative, concerning test methods, stated the progress report.
Furthermore, "at the same time NDA, the US-based trade association for non-woven products, sought collaboration with the major North American wastewater associations (CWWA, NACWA, WEF and APWA), to review and improve their voluntary Code of Practice and their Guidance Document for Assessing Flushability (GD3) of their products...but this work halted by the end of 2016 when the manufacturers failed to accept proposals for new tests and pass/fail criteria provided by the wastewater associations."