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Car Washing

Many people wash their vehicles at home, but doing so on your driveway or street can pollute nearby rivers, lakes and streams.  All of the soapy water runs down a curb and into the nearest storm drain where it flows right into a river or stream. Soap and detergents pollute water with ingredients such as phosphorus and other harsh cleaning chemicals.  Used rinse water can contain oils and grease, suspended solids, heavy metals, and other toxic substances that pollute water.

What Can You Do?

The next time you wash your car or truck, think about all of the pollutants that collect on your vehicle that make it dirty.  Then, think about where your soapy water could end up. Be the solution to water pollution by following either tip:

  1. Take your vehicle to a commercial car wash. Their drains are connected to a sewer system and the waste water will be sent to and cleaned by a wastewater treatment plant.


  2. If you must wash off your vehicle at home, do it on a part of your yard where the grass and/or soil can serve as a natural filter to absorb pollutants.
      • Use environmentally safe products that will not harm the environment.
      • Use a auto shut off spray valve or low-volume to reduce over spraying and wasting water.
      • Wash your vehicle when needed rather than as a "once a week" activity.

Did You know?

All commercial car wash facilities in the metropolitan Atlanta are required to meet state guidelines to prevent water pollution.