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Impacting Your Water Quality Home
Homeowner Storm Water Management
                        Car Washing
How Washing Your Car Impacts the Environment:
     It takes an average of 500 gallons of water to wash a car and the chemical-rich soap used to clean the car contains large amounts of nutrients (including phosphates), metals, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants that runs directly into the storm drain and then the streams and lakes. There is no filtering system between the storm drain and the streams, so what comes off of the car goes directly into the surface waters we depend on if not handled properly.
Commercial v. Residential

     The best place to wash your car is at a commercial car wash, especially if unable to dispose of water properly. Commercial car wash facilities often recycle their water or are required to treat their wash water discharge prior to its release into the sanitary sewer system. Residents, businesses, and charity car wash fundraisers have the biggest impacts on stormwater from car washing since the water goes directly into the storm drain system.

Car Washing Tips:
  • Wash your car on gravel, grass or other permeable surfaces in order to increase water absorption and decrease nutrient levels entering the storm drain system.  
  • Block off the storm drain during charity car wash events or using an insert to catch wash water. 
  • Pump soapy water from car washes into a sanitary sewer drain. 
  • Use a nozzle that automatically turns off when left unattended as not to waste water. 
  • Use an adjustable hose nozzle in order to decrease the power of the spray, which uses less water and creates fewer water spots on the car. 
  • Use only biodegradable soaps. 
  • Make sure the car is parked away from direct sunlight in order to slow down evaporation, which will keep water spots from forming.
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