Damage Caused by Wipes
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The final IWSFG flushability specifications seek to address the key aspects of the International Water Industry Position Statement on Non-Flushable and ‘Flushable’ Labeled Products, released on September 22, 2016 and signed by over 250 water organizations worldwide, that to be flushable a product must (1) break into small pieces quickly; (2) not be buoyant; and (3) not contain plastic or regenerated cellulose but only contain materials which will readily degrade in a range of natural environments. Products that meet the IWSFG flushability specifications are unlikely to cause harm to wastewater conveyance systems or treatment plants.
The IWSFG flushability specifications are available for use by product manufacturers, governmental organizations, and other entities that want to determine if products that are flushed are safe for wastewater infrastructure. The three publicly available specification (PAS) documents together describe the the criteria that a product should meet to be compatible with being flushed down a toilet. PAS 1 outlines the five criteria for a product to be labeled flushable: environmental protection, toilet and drain line clearance, disintegration, settling, and biodisintegration. PAS 2 provides key definitions used in the specifications. PAS 3 details the disintegration test procedures, since this is the only flushability test that is not effectively defined by other published methodologies
A summary of the IWSFG flushability specifications, including a comparison to other flushability guidelines, is available here. The PAS documents are available below in English, Japanese, and Spanish. Templates for recording results of the disintegration test described in PAS 3, are available below in English.
To ensure that the flushability specifications are both realistic and accepted worldwide, the IWSFG published two draft versions for public comment. Extensive comments were received from many organizations, and the IWSFG reviewed and addressed all comments. Draft versions of the IWSFG flushability criteria, the public comments received, and IWSFG response to comments are available at the following links:
First Draft – July 2017
Second Draft – January 2018