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New Oregon law takes a swipe at 'flushable' wipes

A bill signed into law last week requires that disposable wipes be labeled with 'Do Not Flush' after backlash from water officials who say that flushed wipes have caused untold damage to wastewater systems.

Posted: Jun 14, 2021 6:02 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon will become the second state in the US to require that disposable wipes be labeled with "Do Not Flush," a triumph for water district officials and local governments in the state.

While many wipes are marketed as "flushable" these days, the people that deal with the end result say that these products have been wreaking havoc on sewer and wastewater systems throughout the state of Oregon.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an already growing problem caused by a glut of products marketed as flushable, when in fact they were clogging and damaging residential and community pipes,” said Susie Smith, director of the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies. “We are grateful to the cities, agencies and legislators who championed this common-sense requirement.”

House Bill 2344 was championed by Smith's group, the League of Oregon Cities, and the Special Districts Association of Oregon. Together, they asked that a bill be introduced due to the ongoing challenges and rising costs associated with wipes and related products that are flushed down the toilet — resulting in sewer backups, overflows, damage to pumps and wastewater equipment.

The bill requires that manufacturers of baby wipes, make-up wipes, cleaning wipes, and other personal care wipes follow a statewide standard and clearly label these products to indicate that they should not be flushed down toilets.

Washington enacted a similar requirement in 2020, and advocates said that legislation is pending in California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. A federal environmental proposal also contains a provision on the topic.

In a 2020 report, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies estimated that wipes result in $440 million per year in additional operational costs for wastewater utilities.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4810222

Reported Deaths: 70598
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3636444159
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871372
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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