Outdoor car washing results in large amounts of dirt, road grime, oil, and heavy metals flowing into waterways. The soapy water used to wash the car flows down the street and into storm drains. Water that enters storm drains travels directly to the nearest body of water without being cleaned.
Commercial Car Wash
This is the best option to keep harmful chemicals from entering our streams and lakes. Commercial car-wash water is recycled and sent to the wastewater plant for treatment.
When washing your car at home, wash it on your lawn or a pervious surface, so the wash water can soak into the ground and pollutants will be filtered out. Use phosphorous-free soap to decrease the amount of nutrients entering our waterways. Excess nutrients decrease water quality and harm aquatic life.
Make your fundraising car wash watershed friendly!
Safe Disposal of Chemicals
Never pour vehicle waste, including oil and antifreeze, into storm drains, septic systems or onto the ground. If you change your own oil, you can recycle your used oil with your SSC curbside recycling. Get a reusable container, such as a clean milk jug or soda bottle, and drain the oil carefully into the container, avoiding splatter and spills. Seal the container securely and mark it “oil.” Set it out with your curbside recycling or take it to your nearest used oil collection site.
Fix oil leaks right away. In the short term, place drip pans or cardboard under your car to prevent oil from reaching our streams or wetlands. Stormwater runoff containing just one pint of oil can make a slick larger than a football field. Know where you will store and dispose of materials (PDF) before beginning a do-it-yourself project. Call the Recycling Hotline at 360-676-5723 for more information.
Give Your Car a Break
Reduce the time and money you spend on car maintenance by leaving your car at home more often. Carpool with a friend, take the bus, walk or bike to work at least once a week.