February 2011, Vol. 23, No.2


A refuge for clean water

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this year begins its first full year of gathering data for a comprehensive inventory of the nation’s lakes, rivers, wetlands, and streams located in refuges. Scientists will collect information on the quantity and quality of water available for wildlife and habitats to prioritize efforts to restore the health of waterbodies, according to the article “First Survey of Water Resources on Refuges,” in Wild Angles.

Conducted through the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System, a department managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, the inventory is expected to take at least 5 years. By mid-2011, system experts hope to start entering water data, including information on quality, quantity, legal rights, and infrastructure, into a new national database. Survey data also will identify water-related needs, trends, and threats for each of the 553 refuges, the article says.  

Giving products the flushability seal

NSF International (Ann Arbor, Mich.) recently launched the NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program, which provides third-party verification of claims that certain consumer products can be safely disposed of by flushing them down toilets, an NSF International news release says. Developed in response to an increasing number of such claims, the program attempts to help alleviate issues of clogging in wastewater treatment systems.

Manufacturers of such products as tissues, wipes, kitty litter, pet-refuse bags, diapers, and feminine hygiene products increasingly are making claims of safe flushing. The program evaluates these products against The Guidance Document of the Flushability of Nonwoven Consumer Products, which includes guidelines developed by industry experts and provides test methods for evaluating flushability, the news release says. NSF certifies products if they are deemed suitable for a sewer or septic system, or both. Certified products will be given the “NSF Certified Flushable” mark, which can be used on product packaging and marketing materials.

To achieve certification, manufacturers must first submit product information and samples to NSF. Then, NSF tests the samples using a custom-built system that includes various drain-line slopes, toilets, and pipe diameters used in both U.S. and European plumbing systems. NSF also inspects the manufacturing facilities to verify that products are manufactured to approved specifications and adhere to proper safety and quality checks. To maintain certification, NSF conducts annual facility inspections and periodic retesting. For more information, see www.nsf.org/info/flushability.


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