Wipes Blockage Reduction

The International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG) - consisting of water/wastewater experts from numerous countries – aims to address what products are suitable for flushing from toilets into sewer systems and to develop technical specifications for this purpose. The IWSFG tested numerous products labeled as flushable from around the world to ensure objectivity, scientific rigor, and quality assurance of its tests. The flushability specifications aim to eliminate potential problems such as pipe, pump, and screen cloggings, and to protect wastewaster infrastructure as a whole.

The IWSFG received an overwhelming response to the first draft of its Publicly Available Specification (PAS) documents released in July 2017. This update is being sent to all of the organizations and individuals who provided comments on the first draft – we appreciate all of your input. The comments have been considered carefully and a second draft of the specification is now available at www.iwsfg.org for public comment. Comments will be accepted until March 2, 2018.

The comments on the first draft have resulted in a major revision to the PAS documents, with the original 13 documents now reduced to three. The IWSFG considered that the most effective and meaningful way then to present the comments and responses was against these three revised PAS documents. These documents encompass PAS1: Criteria for Recognition as a Flushable Product, PAS2: Terms and Definitions, and PAS3: Disintegration Test Methods - Slosh Box. The comments against the other PAS documents resulted in the removal of these PAS documents to avoid confusion and unnecessary duplication. Based on this, the IWSFG did not believe that there was value in publishing individual comments and responses against these deleted documents.

We invite you to provide comments on the revised PAS documents using the template provided. Comments are requested in Excel format, using the attached form, which is also available at www.iwsfg.org. If the organization or individual requires a PDF or similar format to be submitted to avoid alteration of content, then we request that this is submitted in addition to the Excel formatted comments.

Please note that all submissions will be made public and all comments attributed to the relevant organization or individual submitting them unless specifically requested to be confidential. In this case the comments will be made public, but the author will be named as anonymous.

The final flushability criteria are expected to be published in April 2018, initially in English with the intention to translate into other languages over time.

Background Information

Press release form May 2017 - Don't treat your toilet as a rubbish bin

Why it’s important NOT to flush wipes – important messages

Educational video produced by the Food and Grocery Council

Consumer information


CODE OF PRACTICE: Communicating Appropriate Disposal Pathways for Nonwoven Wipes to Protect Wastewater Systems

Blockage testing methodology

Report assessing the impacts of pulp loading from non-dispersible material on downstream sewer systems

May 2017 Water journal article outlining standards development initiatives


Sydney Waters award winning customer engagement strategy for reducing wipes blockages

“Cant flush this” United Utilities wipe reduction rap video

“We three pees” Southern Waters sewer protection carol


Enquiries can be directed to media@waternz.org.nz or technical@waternz.org.nz.