Keep car washing lake and stream friendly.

Car washing is a typical summer time activity and here are a few tips on how to keep car washing stream friendly.

The first and easiest thing to do is to use a dedicated car wash. A coin operated or drive through car wash will collect the wash water. The water from these facilities is treated at the wastewater treatment plant before entering into the environment.

If one wants to wash their car at home, the car can be pulled onto the lawn area and washed there. Washing a car on the lawn will allow the detergent-laden water to be absorbed by the lawn instead of flowing down the driveway into the storm sewer and into the nearest stream.

  • Use as little soap and water as possible by using a trigger nozzle to control the amount of water flowing on the ground.
  • Washing your car on a pervious surface allows vegetation and soil microbes to filter and breakdown any pollutants in the water.
  • When car washing is complete, dump the bucket in a sink or toilet that goes to a waste water treatment plant.

While the hose is out for washing the car on the lawn it is not a good idea to wash the driveway. Any debris on a driveway can removed with a broom or leaf blower there by keeping it out of storm sewers and streams.

Minimizing the pollutants we put in our local streams is the only way to continue to see improvements in the health of our local water ways. Lake Erie starts at your yard.

Blog Author: Brian White, Urban Conservationist

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