New Law Requires Easier-to-Find Disposal Labeling for Wipes

Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) is excited to announce that Assembly Bill 818 has been signed into law. This new law requires all packaging for diaper wipes, cleaning wipes, and cosmetic wipes to display clear “Do Not Flush” warnings.

“This is a major step forward in the wastewater industry’s fight to keep wipes intended for the trash can out of public sewer systems.” said Jessica Gauger, Director of Legislative Advocacy and Public Affairs for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies.

CVSan General Manager Roland P. Williams stated, “When residents flush wipes, it causes major problems for our wastewater collection system and increases the chances of raw sewage overflowing back into their property. This new legislation will help remind people to put wipes where they belong, in the trash and not down the toilet”. 

This action is the result of a three-year effort between representatives from wastewater and product stewardship groups and wipes manufacturers to address an urgent pollution problem that has plagued public wastewater infrastructure. The legislation establishes disposal labeling requirements for wet wipes packaging and requires manufacturers of wipes to educate the public on the impacts of flushing wipes improperly.  

CVSan and the wastewater sector have shouldered the burden of the improper disposal of wipes and other trash into the wastewater collection system for years. Unlike toilet paper, wipes do not break down in water. They remain largely intact as they pass through sewer pipes, causing costly clogs, overflows, and equipment malfunctions. One recent national study estimates that California agencies spend around $50 million annually to remove wipes from the sewers.