North American Tissue News

Charleston Water System sues companies over flushable toilet wipes

The company claims that wipes sold as "flushable" do not dissolve once they make their way from bathrooms to wastewater systems.

According to The Post Courier, the Charleston Water System is suing several manufacturers and large retailers for wipes that have drawn back sewer lines and clogged pumps.

The company claims that wipes sold as “flushable” do not dissolve once they make their way from bathrooms to wastewater systems. The lawsuit states that the wipes “do not perform as advertised or marketed” and are now considered as an “public enemy” for sewer systems nationwide.

The lawsuit involves companies like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, CVS, Target, Costco, Walgreens and Walmart as they manufacture, produce, sell or distribute disposable products.

According to the complaint filed with the Charleston federal court last week, wipes do not disintegrate as effectively as toilet paper and end up mixing and matching obstructions and treatment problems, making it expensive and difficult to remove manually. .

In a statement sent by email, Kimberly-Clark said it stands behind the claims for its wipes, sold under the Cottonelle brand, and said its products “meet or exceed widely accepted industry standards for flushability”. The company also said the wipes that are responsible for clogging sewer lines – which includes baby, household and cosmetic wipes – are not intended to be flushed down the toilet.

P&G, which sells wipes under the Charmin brand, also stood behind its products and said it meets industry guidelines.

CVS commented that it has faced similar cases in the past and has had them dismissed. “We intend to vigorously defend against this copycat lawsuit,” said the spokesman Michael DeAngelis.

According to The Post Courier, the other companies mentioned in the lawsuit did not respond to emails or chose not to comment.

Local governments in the United States spend millions of dollars annually to remove clogs from sewage pipes and wastewater treatment plants, and according to the lawsuit, so-called flushable wipes are responsible for much of the damage.

One of the great examples of this damage was discovered on James Island in 2018, when Charleston Water officials had to send drivers 90 feet down a sewage line that connected to the Plum Island Wastewater Treatment Center three times.

Drivers found a large mass of wipes more than 12 feet long and, according to the lawsuit, that clog put the plant a risk of major sewer overflow and cost the system more than $ 14,000.

A spokesman for Charleston Water System, Mike Saia, added that the utility has spent around $ 250,000 per year since 2018 removing wipes from sewage pipes.

According to the lawsuit, in recent years, officials who manage wastewater systems throughout the U.S. have tried to inform people about the damage these wipes can cause, however those efforts are undermined by the companies ’marketing prices.

“As long as defendants continue to claim that flushable wipes are ‘flushable,’ consumers will continue to use them in accordance with defendants’ instructions and many may never perform the property damage and risks to public health and the environment caused by flushing flushable wipes, Said the lawsuit.

Check the full article in The Post Courier.

The Post Courier
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