From our colleagues at Massachusetts Water Environment Association MAWEA:
We need your help to reach Massachusetts State Legislators by October 24th to urge them to act favorably and quickly on S.480 & H.805, an Act protecting wastewater and sewerage systems through the labeling of non-flushable wipes.
With your help, we can get these bills moving forward. If legislators hear from you now, you will help these bills to get passed.
· First, send an email to JointCommittee.Environment@malegislature.gov. The Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is holding a public hearing on the Bills on October 25, 2023.
· Second, go to: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
· Find the names of your State Representative and Senator, based on where you live or work.
· Then, please send an individual email to your State Representative and State Senator.
A sample email to send to the Joint Committee and your State Legislators is below. If you feel the need to edit this to provide specific examples, please do! Thank you for your help on this important issue.
Dear Committee, or Representative, or Senator:
I am writing to ask you to support S.480 & H.805, an Act protecting wastewater and sewerage systems through the labeling of non-flushable wipes. We are asking you to help bring it to the floor for a vote as soon as possible.
This bill would classify certain wipes, using wipes-industry standards, as “non-flushable.” S.480 & H.805 would mandate that those wipes that do not meet industry standards for dispersibility have prominent, mandatory “Do Not Flush” labeling, following the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) labeling guidelines. These bills include strong, specific language that has already become law in California.
Massachusetts sewers and collection systems face millions of dollars in annual avoidable costs for clogs, fouled pumps, and resulting sanitary sewer overflows. As the popularity of various wipes increases and users flush them, these costs will increase.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of wipes spiked, which also increased dangerous clogs, sewer overflows, and public health issues. Since the early 2000s, wipes have been aggressively marketed as a replacement for toilet paper, mops, cleaning brushes, and rags. This multi-billion-dollar industry has had disastrous impacts on local sewer and collection systems.
S.480 & H.805 targets only wipes and other products that are NOT flushable according to industry standards. Unlike toilet paper, these wipes are not “dispersible” in sewers. Clogs and fouling from flushed wipes cost sewer operators in Massachusetts nearly $10 million annually. Many baby wipes and other non-flushable wipe products are made of plastic, not wood pulp. Wipes should be properly and clearly labeled so that consumers know they should not be flushed.
While Massachusetts is receiving additional federal funding to help our aging wastewater systems, passage of S.480 & H.805 will help us to direct the funding to major projects we’ve needed to build for years. We need to target the funding. We would rather not spend new funding on resolving clogs and replacing pumps and pipes damaged by wipes.
If you have any questions, my contact info is below.
Thank you for your consideration.
Work email or home email
A good daytime phone to verify