castro toilet 080621SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Cristina Castro (D- Elgin) spearheaded a new law to update standards for nonwoven disposable wipes that can damage sewer systems when improperly disposed through being flushed down toilets.

“Non-flushable wipes that are improperly disposed of cause millions of dollars of damage to our sewer systems every year,” Castro said. “The law will help clear up confusion that consumers might have about what kind of products can and cannot be flushed, which will help protect our systems.”

Over the last 20 years, the market for nonwoven disposable wipes has grown, with a corresponding increase in improper disposal by flushing the products. These kinds of wipes can be used for personal care or for wiping down surfaces, like baby wipes or disinfectant wipes. Wipes combined with other substances like fats, oils or grease can lead to major blockages resulting in damage to sewer systems. The wipes also cause damage to home plumbing and septic systems.

The new law requires manufacturers of disposable wipes to clearly label products as “do not flush” and gives wastewater districts the ability enforce the act through fines for violations. There is currently no regulatory standard for labeling products like these, which can lead to consumer confusion about which kinds of wipes can be flushed.

Senate Bill 294 was signed into law on Friday and it goes into effect July 1, 2022.