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Charleston Water System and Kimberly-Clark Reach First Ever Agreement for Cottonelle Flushable Wipes to Meet National Municipal Flushability Standard

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Pursuant to a legally binding agreement reached between the Charleston Water System (CWS) and the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, both parties have agreed that Cottonelle® flushable wipes currently meet a modified version of a standard for flushability developed by the national municipal wastewater industry, and, by May 2022, will adhere to that national municipal wastewater industry standard. Support for the municipal flushability standard includes the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the nation’s leading municipal wastewater association.

Personal care wipes, along with a wide range of other wipe products, have caused major impacts to CWS, as well as other municipal sewer systems across South Carolina, and nationally. These impacts can include sewer system blockages, sewer equipment failures, interference with wastewater treatment processes, the need for increased maintenance, and sewer overflows.

Based upon independent testing performed for CWS by flushability experts, Kimberly-Clark’s flushable wipes, specifically its Cottonelle® flushable wipes, dissolve better than all of the other so-called “flushable” wipes that were tested by CWS. The test methodology and testing results for the “flushable” wipes that were tested can be viewed at www.CharlestonWater.com. This testing, along with internal product testing by Kimberly-Clark – which was reviewed by CWS and its experts – demonstrates that Kimberly-Clark ’s Cottonelle® flushable wipes out-perform the rest of the allegedly “flushable” wipes tested and that Kimberly-Clark ’s Cottonelle® flushable wipes either meet now or are on track to meet the municipal wastewater flushability standard by May 2022.

 Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to meet the national municipal flushability standard for its Cottonelle® flushable wipes through its agreement with CWS exhibits Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to protect public health and promote environmental stewardship by making sure its flushable wipes will be compatible with the operational requirements of public sewer systems.

 Consistent with this stewardship commitment, Kimberly-Clark has also officially agreed to several years of on-going independent testing to verify that its flushable wipes will continue to meet the national municipal sewer treatment industry’s flushability standard. Furthermore, Kimberly-Clark has agreed to revise its product labeling specifications for both its flushable wipes as well as the non-flushable wipes that it manufactures.  This labeling program will help facilitate improved public understanding as to which of Kimberly-Clark’s wipes are safe to flush. This labeling approach is intended to eventually help set the standard for wipe manufacturers nationally.

 CWS calls upon all other flushable wipe manufacturers in the United States to follow Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to produce personal care wipe products that meet or exceed the national municipal wastewater industry’s flushability standard.  Until that happens, CWS intends to continue to challenge those manufacturer’s misleading claims about the suitability of their various wipes for introduction into public sewer systems.

 Learn more about the technology behind Kimberly-Clark’s flushable wipes at https://www.cottonelle.com/flushability.

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