WSAA welcomes release of final flushable products standard

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has welcomed the release of the final standard, DR AS/NZS 5328:2022 Flushable Products, by Standards Australia.

Executive Director of WSAA, Adam Lovell was excited by the release of the Australian and New Zealand standard.

“One of the first of its kind internationally, it is the result of ground-breaking collaboration between manufacturers, water utilities, peak bodies and consumer groups,” he said. “We know others internationally have been watching the development of this standard.”

Interest in adopting the standard internationally has already been recorded, with Israel having advised it intends to adopt the standard with no changes.

“While the standard is voluntary, it provides manufacturers with clear pass/fail criteria for products suitable for toilet flushing. Importantly it includes requirements for clearer labelling so customers know for certain whether a product is safe for flushing,” Lovell said. 

“The message from the water industry has always been—only flush the 3P’s. Now we can also check for the flushable symbol. If there is no flushable symbol on the packet then don’t flush it, bin it.”

Likewise, Lowell went on to state that while it’s common knowledge that wipes and other items shouldn’t be flushed, when they do manage to make their way into the pipes they can become a massive issue for water utility services.

In Australia and New Zealand alone it costs water utilities tens of millions of dollars each year. Issues like disruptions in customer services, extra costs incurred by customers and utilities and a negative impact on the environment via overflows can all be caused by simply flushing the wrong thing down the toilet.

WSAA and the urban water industry in AU and NZ have been concerned about the contribution of wet wipe products to pipe blockages for some time. The issue was only exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, members reported a sharp increase in blockages due to people flushing materials never intended to go down the toilet, such as wet wipes and paper towel.

Manufacturers are expected to begin using the flushable symbol sometime in the latter half of 2022. The symbol will be granted to products which pass select testing criteria, including six tests and an attestation that no plastic is contained in the product.

WSAA have declared that it will continue to monitor the impacts that items wrongfully flushed on wastewater systems have on the industry. Likewise, it’s committed to continuing their engagement with customers and stakeholders to increase awareness of the issue.

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