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Outdoor car washing can result in high amounts of nutrients, dirt, metals and detergents in our waterways. That’s because the water from your driveway flows into the street, through the stormwater system and into area creeks and streams. 

Did you know?

  • Even small concentrations of pollutants like detergents can kill fish and their eggs. Other animals suffer as well.  
  • Outdoor car washing also sends dirt, grease, oil, automobile fluids, heavy metals, rust, rubber, and trace amounts of benzene and chromium into creeks, streams and waterways.
  • This is the same water that we drink, swim in and the same water that cultivates our food downstream. 
  • The water used in commercial car washes is treated before it enters waterways. They also use an average of 60% less water than car washing at home.

If you do wash your car at home, here are three simple things you can do to help keep waterways clean

  • Wash your vehicle on gravel, grass or other permeable surface.
  • Use plain water with biodegradable soaps.
  • Use a trigger nozzle or a bucket to conserve water.