A New York homeowners’ association has filed a new flushable wipes class action lawsuit against seven major companies for allegedly marketing and selling flushable wipes that wreak havoc on wastewater and sewage treatment facilities.
The Preserve at Connetquot Homeowners Association filed the flushable wipes class action lawsuit in New York federal court Monday collectively against Costco, CVS, Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Kimberly-Clark, and Proctor & Gamble claiming the companies mislead consumers into believing that their flushable wipes can be flushed without adverse effects on plumbing and sewer systems.
According to the flushable wipes class action lawsuit, there are 40 units in The Preserve that are connected to an on-site sewage treatment plant via piping and sewer lines. Residents of The Preserve pay $410 per month for common charges, which include unexpected expenses associated with the contract maintenance of the sewage treatment plant or STP.
However, in 2012, the HOA incurred hefty expenses as a result of major repairs to its sewage treatment plant due to the influx of flushable wipes made and sold by the defendants. As a result, The Preserve at Connetquot has an ongoing directive to the residents to refrain from flushing purportedly flushable wipes down their toilets. Still, the homeowners’ association anticipates experiencing future clogging and increased costs associated with operating its STP and removing clogs caused by the buildup of flushable wipes.
“…Defendant’s failure to warn of the hazards posed by the use of their Flushable Wipes that, or should be known to them…Plaintiff and Class members’ wastewater equipment (have been and) continues to be clogged by Flushable Wipes. While flowing through sewer systems and sewage treatment plants, Flushable Wipes comingle to the extent that the individual wipes become unrecognizable.”
Although Costco, Target, and other manufacturers of flushable wipes label their products as flushable, biodegradable, and “safe for sewer and septic systems”, it widely documented nationwide that many of these products do break down when flushed, leading to major and costly plumbing issues, the 69-page complaint notes. In fact, many municipalities, wastewater districts, and organizations throughout the county now advise consumers to not flush “flushable” wipes. And wastewater industry officials have described flushable wipes impact on wastewater systems as “wreaking havoc” on pumps and machinery and pose “a huge problem – an absolutely horrible problem.”
During the past four years, several lawsuits have popped up against the makers of flushable wipes products for the damage and costs, many times in the tens of millions, associated with the blockages caused by the wet wipes. Cases have been reported in San Francisco, Miami, New York, and Washington D.C. In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission pulled Nice-Pak brand flushable wipes off the market.
This flushable wipes class action lawsuit seeks to represent two proposed classes: A New York STP Operators Class and a nationwide STP Operators Class affected by flushable wipe products between Dec. 4, 2011 and the present. While the plaintiff is not requesting past damages or damages already incurred, they are requesting an order enjoining the defendant to remove the “flushable” label on their products.
The Preserve at Connetquot Homeowners Association is represented by Samuel H. Rudman, Mark S. Reich, and Vincent M. Serra of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP.
The Flushable Wipes Class Action Lawsuit is The Preserve at Connetquot Homeowners Association Inc., et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-07050-JFB-AYS, in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of New York.