Car Washing

What's the Problem?

Dirty car wash water often contains oil, grease, and toxic metals. Soapy water and the chemicals in many detergents are harmful to fish and other aquatic life. When soapy, dirty water enters the storm drain, the pipes go directly to local streams and rivers. In most areas, stormwater does NOT go to the sewer treatment plant like the water that goes down the drain inside your house.

What Should I Do?

To prevent stormwater pollution while washing your car:

  • Wash your car on grass or in an area where water can filter into the ground and not run off to the storm drain. If your driveway drains to a vegetated area and not the storm drain, that works too.
  • Divert the wash water drainage away from storm drains.
  • To reduce possible runoff from the grassy area, use a hose with a shut-off valve.
  • Dump soapy water in a sink or an area where it will filter into the ground.
  • If there isn't a good place to wash your car at home, use a commercial car wash where the wash water drains to the sanitary sewer.
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Car Wash Kit

Charity Car Washes

Rent a free car wash kit that will pump dirty wash water to a nearby sewer drain or vegetated area.