A manufacturer of wet wipes has agreed to stop promoting its product as flushable and will no longer claim they are safe for sewers and septic tanks until it can substantiate those claims. The proposed settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Nice-Pak Products Inc. was finalized in June.
Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated in a news release, “The evidence didn’t back up Nice-Pak’s claims that their wipes were safe to flush. If you claim a product is flushable, it needs to flush in the real world, without clogging household plumbing or sewer and septic systems.” The company’s testing did not reflect real conditions, the agency contended.
The FTC complaint said the company had violated the law by claiming that the wipes:
- • Are safe for sewer systems
- • Are safe for septic systems
- • Break apart shortly after being flushed
- • Are safe to flush
The company released a statement saying the products in question had been discontinued in 2014 and maintained that their claims were “fully substantiated.” Nice-Pak produced the wipes for private labels marketed by Costco, CVS and Target.
The company is also named in a class-action lawsuit brought by the City of Wyoming, Minnesota, against six manufacturers of flushable wipes that alleges manufacturers knowingly marketed and distributed wipes as flushable, when in reality the wipes can cause severe problems to wastewater systems.
A state Senate committee has approved a cesspool bill that was pulled from a scheduled vote at the end of the legislative session last year. If passed, the law would require the replacement of all cesspools with approved septic systems or sewer connections when a property is sold or ownership changes. Waivers would be available for low-income property owners.
Rhode Island banned installation of new cesspools in 1968, but 25,000 of them are still in use. The cesspool act of 2007 required replacement of those within 200 feet of tidal waters, public wells and waters used for drinking supply intakes by January 2014.
The U.S. District Court for eastern Pennsylvania is reviewing the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ruling that septic systems in the state do not require EPA review as long as they comply with state law. Several environmental groups have challenged the ruling saying the state’s septic system law violates its anti-degradation policy and that the EPA should have reviewed and disapproved of the 2014 law. Two construction industry groups have joined the case as interveners. The National Association of Home Builders and the Pennsylvania Builders Association have taken the EPA’s side in the case, claiming that the court ruling is correct and that the Clean Water Act does not require an EPA review of state statutes.
Legislation would allow food stands to offer tables and chairs without having to worry about being classified as a restaurant. North Carolina state Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Archdale) introduced the bill after visiting a country store where senior citizens have to stand as they socialize over biscuits warmed in a microwave oven. According to the News & Observer newspaper, state health rules forbid food stands from providing seating to make sure businesses have adequate septic systems to serve customers. The Division of Public Health says it does not oppose the measure, which would apply to permanent businesses but not food trucks.