Car wash water contains road grime, oil and grease, heavy metals, and soap. When you wash your car in your driveway or in the street, polluted wash water flows directly into the nearest storm drain. From the storm drain, this polluted runoff may flow directly into our creeks, lakes and wetlands without treatment.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Wash your car at a commercial car wash: Commercial car washes are required to send polluted wash water to the sanitary sewer system, which provides water quality treatment in wastewater treatment plants. Most car washes also reuse water several times before sending it to the sewer.
At home: If you wash your car at home, wash it on a grassy or gravel area, where the wash water will soak into the soil and won’t drain directly to a storm drain or local water body. Use chlorine and phosphate-free, biodegradable soap to wash your car. Even these soaps are harmful to aquatic life and water quality, so please use soap sparingly. Biodegradable soap is not accepted directly into the storm drain system because it still contains contaminants.
Eco-Friendly Car Wash/Fundraising Ideas
Car washing fundraisers are popular events for local organizations to raise money. Instead of holding a car wash, consider an eco-friendly fundraiser such as selling tickets to a commercial car wash. Tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate from either Brown Bear or the Puget Sound Car Wash Association. To borrow an eco-friendly car wash kit for a charity event, contact Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH).
Auto Leaks Workshop
Does your car drip fluids? Ever wondered if a ‘spot’ on the ground came from your car? Want to learn how to properly maintain your car?
Join the experts at participating Certified Automotive Training Centers at a location near you for a FREE Auto Leaks workshop - a $125 value. Open to everyone in Puget Sound. At this workshop you’ll:
One hour in class session and you are in the shop for the rest of the time.
Hurry now! Space is limited. Register online through the Don't Drip & Drive | Fix That Leak! website.
These free workshops are brought to you by the Department of Ecology and Seattle Public Utilities.