Rule Your Runoff
When you wash your car at home, your driveway becomes a flowing source of soap, scum and oily grit. The runoff water flows down the street along the curb directly into storm drains. Many people don’t realize that storm water isn’t treated; it flows directly to our rivers, lakes and streams!
Carwash runoff contains chemicals and phosphates in the soap, and there are numerous other pollutants in the scum and oils from the car body. This can wreak havoc on aquatic life; for instance, the phosphates from the soap can cause excess algae to grow.
Reduce Your Use:
- Use soap and cleaning products sparingly
- Use a hose with a trigger nozzle to conserve water (reduces runoff too)
- Wash your car on a grassy or gravel area instead of an impervious driveway
- The ground will filter the water naturally and reduce runoff
- Instead of washing your car at home, go to a commercial car wash
- Most car washes recycle water, and then send to the sewer system for treatment
Not all carwashes are created equal: Check out how the commercial car wash handles the water from cleaning. Make sure it’s one with grates in the ground to recollect the water, or that the company lists that it “recycles water.” If the company washes cars on the pavement, and you see the runoff flowing into the street, check out another place!
Water Conservation: Washing your car at home isn’t just about runoff pollution. Most commercial car washes use up to 60% less water in the entire washing process than an at-home wash. Saving on gallons of water, plus preventing pollution, can make professional washes worth it!
Other Car & Driveway tips:
- Make sure to clean up oil spills (kitty litter works great) and fix leaking automobiles
- Use drip pans to catch engine oil and other pollutants while repairing cars
- Sweep your driveway clean instead of hosing it down with water