How Better Communications Can Fight the Pipe-Clogging “Flushable” Wipe

We’ve written before about “flushable” wipes and the challenges they create for communities. We saw how a spike in the use of non-woven wipes in the early stages of the United States’ experience of the coronavirus pandemic led to a sharp increase in clogged pumps and pipes. We know this problem isn’t going away. So what can a community or utility do?

The two basic answers are adapt your infrastructure or implement an effective communications campaign. The first of these can be expensive and might be out of the reach of many. The second, though, can be simple and affordable. And that’s where we would encourage every utility to focus some time and energy.

Our upcoming free whitepaper [ed: out now!], Clearing the Clog: Adapt Infrastructure and Communications to Combat Flushable Wipes, offers examples of communities successfully implementing both new infrastructure and new communications approaches to combat persistent problems with flushed wipes (and fats, oils, and grease). In this paper, we offer simple, actionable advice on how to communicate effectively with residents to change behavior and reduce the quantity of wipes that go down the drain. 

We also include ready-to-use graphics in a range of sizes that can be used as-is or adapted to a specific need. There are three styles, so you can select the one that best fits your needs, and the sizes include both full page and one-third-page bill inserts, door hangers, and posters for short term rentals. There are also versions sized for popular social media platforms.

By applying the advice in this whitepaper and leveraging the free graphics, we believe that communities can successfully drive education campaigns for residents that will reduce the wipes problem. Of course, it requires consistent messaging over a long period of time, so while we’re offering some successful shortcuts, utilities, DPWs, and communities need to provide the follow-through. Commitment and communication are a powerful combination!

The header image on this post is courtesy of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s excellent flickr album.


Susan Guswa National Practice Leader Municipal Wastewater

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