The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has begun collaborating with the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and Accord Australasia Limited to discuss short and long term options for reducing the impact of wipes in wastewater systems around Australia.

WSAA is the peak national industry body for the urban water industry. Accord is the national industry association representing manufacturers and suppliers of hygiene, cosmetic and specialty products, their raw material suppliers and service providers. The AFGC is the leading national organisation representing Australia’s food, drink and grocery manufacturing industry.

Currently, wipes and other materials are being flushed into Australia’s water and wastewater systems, causing blockages to pumps and eventual pump failure.

The forum heard case studies from urban water utilities around Australia and considered the current state of play nationally and internationally.

As a result of the forum, the three associations will lead further work in confirming the source of material in sewers, considering ways to better educate the community and participating in the development of an international standard relating to flushable products.

“We are pleased the industry wants to work with us on this issue. We are working towards a solution that will avoid additional long term costs to water utility customers and adverse impacts on the environment”, said Adam Lovell, WSAA’s Executive Director.

“The wipes and hygiene industry welcomes this opportunity to commence collaborative discussions with the water industry. Our first priority will be to gain a better understanding of all dimensions of this issue to maximise the effectiveness of any solutions brought forward” said Craig Brock, Accord Policy Director.

“This work will develop a strong evidence base to determine what products are causing concern and what role companies can play in contributing to addressing this challenge”, said a representative from the AFGC.

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