Water Haller: Flushable Wipes - The musical!
Performing "What’s Up With Wipes” with Barry Orr (London and MESUG) featuring Foggy the Fatberg at the WEAO Conference in London, Ontario in June.
I’ve been on the road a lot lately - Niagara (OWWA), Victoria (BCWWA), Niagara (CWS), San Antonio (very hot AWWA), London (WEAO) - and I get to do my regular "update on everything” speech. But in London, I presented for a full half hour with Barry Orr to tell a brief history of wipes and where we are today – a bit we titled "What’s Up With Wipes”. I was happy we attracted a good audience and we had a lot of fun. Barry and I have been working together on this project we were able to go back and forth easily. I‘d say we were somewhere between the Beastie Boys and Bob & Doug McKenzie. We turned our lyrics into a magazine piece which you should soon see versions of in one of your regional association magazines or in the Environmental Science & Engineering magazine.
The big news is that we actually have reached a standard for flushability (IWSFG) that is supported by the wastewater industry. Following landmark legal decisions in the U.S., we have several of the biggest wipes manufacturers now offering a product that we can agree is flushable so we have approved their use of the IWSFG. In fact, any day now, you should see a new Cottonelle wipe with the IWSFG logo. Yes – it’s okay to use this and we encourage municipalities to promote the new IWSFG logo to their customers. Our CWWA Wipes Committee will be working on messaging to share soon.
As I work closely with WEF and AWWA and monitor the media coverage in the U.S., this would seem to be one of the biggest environmental issues down there. However, that level of interest hasn’t seemed to come north of the border yet into Canada. We had a good discussion on the topic with the policy makers at Health Canada as one of our Window on Ottawa sessions – but there certainly didn’t seem to be a sense of urgency. I get a sense that utilities, and our industry, will be moved to act on this topic ahead of federal direction as the public begins to express worries. Our goal, as utilities, is to provide the safest drinking water we can to our communities and maintain their confidence in our service.
So our CWWA Drinking Water Quality Committee is hard at work developing a Fact Sheet and some Speaking Notes that should be released very soon. These tools are intended for utility managers, communications staff and municipal leaders to help them communicate the facts on this topic to the public and the media. Thank you DWQ Committee!