Community car wash events are a popular means of raising money for worthwhile causes. However, if runoff from car washes is not properly managed, it can negatively impact our local creeks and rivers. Wash water from car washing activities typically contains dirt (sediment), soap (detergent/surfactants), gasoline and motor oil, as well as metals and oil/grease residues from exhaust fumes and brake pads. When this dirty water is allowed to flow into storm drains, it travels directly to our local creeks and rivers without treatment. This pollution can kill or harm fish and other aquatic life and make our waterways unsafe for drinking, swimming and fishing. Alone, one car wash fundraiser event may not create a significant adverse environmental impact. But, collectively, car wash fundraiser events can contribute large amounts of polluted wash water to our local waterways.
The City has a document that explains the water quality concerns and outlines steps that should be taken to protect our environment when conducting a car wash fundraiser event in our community. It can be found here.