Federal Judge Postpones D.C. Wipes Law

February 7, 2018

Laws & Regs

On Dec. 22, a federal judge blocked the Nonwoven Disposable Products Act of 2016, a law proposed by the Washington, D.C. City Council that would discourage wipes manufacturers from inaccurately labeling their products as “flushable,” until the city issues a labeling rule. The first flushable wipes law in the U.S. was set to take effect in the city on Jan. 1. Under the law, wipes labeled as “flushable” must readily break up and degrade in wastewater treatment systems.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (Dallas), a global manufacturer of flushable wipes, requested the preliminary injunction. The judge agreed that the measure would penalize the company as soon as it took effect. The city declared that it would not enforce the law until the D.C. Council adopts criteria defining how flushable wipes should be labeled.

In November 2017, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) and National Association of Clean Water Agencies (Washington, D.C.) filed an amicus brief in support of the proposed Nonwoven Disposable Products Act.

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