Ask your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act Today!

Please reach out and ask your Members of Congress to co-sponsor S. 1350/ H.R. 2964 - the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety Act (WIPPES Act) introduced by Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) and Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK) in the House and by Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate. This legislation helps address the extensive and expensive problems caused by non-flushable wet wipes.

Often times, these wipes are marketed as flushable, although they are not. Frequently these products are composed of synthetic, plastic materials that are not compatible with the sewer systems and infrastructure.

As a result, when these products travel through the sewer systems they do not break down, but rather accumulate with fats, oils and grease and become large obstructions in the pipes that ultimately clog pumps, collection systems, and motors, causing backups, treatment equipment failures, and pipe ruptures and system overflows. If the wipes manage to make it through the treatment process, the products are broken down into smaller microfibers and microplastics that are infeasible to stop from being released back into the environment, thereby contributing to the problem of microplastics in the environment.

Ratepayers are already facing increased wastewater utility bills to maintain and modernize the system to meet regulatory obligations, and the damage wipes are doing to systems are only further burdening ratepayers. Analysis of wipes damages data has found that wipes cost utilities across the nation upwards of $1 billion dollars annually. To put that in perspective, Congress appropriated $1.6 billion in FY23 for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, which is a substantial source of funding for wastewater infrastructure investments for utilities.

Not only do the clogs caused by wipes cost ratepayers, they also impact businesses, the environment, public health, and the health of utility workers. When a clog disrupts wastewater service, local restaurants, stores, and office buildings must close until the utility can repair the problems. A wipes clog can also cause significant traffic problems when the clog is under a road or public use area. In some cases, clogs can also cause the overflow of untreated sewage into local waterways or the community. The people who work for utilities are also put at risk daily, because they are being exposed to untreated sewage while constantly removing wipes at treatment plants.

The WIPPES bill will take a critical step in stopping the flushing of wet wipes at the source and, as a result, decrease the strains that the flushing of these products has upon property owners, infrastructure, ratepayers, and the surrounding environment. Not only does the WIPPES Act have broad support across the water sector, wipes industry association (INDA) and the three largest wipes manufactures also endorse the WIPPES bill.

The WIPPES Act would address the wipes problem in a straightforward and reasonable approach, by establishing “Do Not Flush” labeling requirements for non-flushable wet wipes product packaging

Ask your Members to co-sponsor WIPPES Act today!