Few people realize that washing a car in their driveway is an environmentally un-friendly chore. Unlike our household wastewater, which goes to the sanitary sewer for treatment, car wash water – a mixture of water, soap, oil, dirt and other pollutants – runs down the street and into a storm drain. It then dumps into the nearest lake, creek or wetland with no treatment. This filthy cocktail is harmful, even poisonous, to fish and wildlife and can wreak havoc on ecosystems.
Commercial car washes treat wastewater.
The most environmentally-friendly option to clean your car is to use a commercial car wash – automatic or self-serve. Car wash facilities are required to send their wastewater to the sanitary sewer, so it gets treated before being sent back into the great outdoors. Commercial car washes also minimize water use and most recycle their water.
Environmentally safer fundraisers
Car washing is one way clubs, sports teams and other groups raise money, but Kirkland Public Works asks you to consider environmentally safer fundraiser alternatives. One option is to sell tickets for commercial car wash facilities. The Puget Sound Car Wash Association (PSCWA) and Brown Bear Car Wash offer custom-printed tickets for organizations to resell at a profit. These programs are easy to participate in – no sunshine or elbow grease is required.
What about car wash fundraisers?
While not the preferred option, car wash fundraisers can still be safe. Borrow a Car Wash Kit from the City for your next car wash fundraiser to make it creek-friendly. They are easy to use and keep dirty car wash water out of local creeks and lakes. The kits are available for use, free of charge, to any community group holding a car wash in Kirkland. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (425) 587-3858.
Check out our web page for more information about car washing and fundraisers in Kirkland.