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Car Washing & Maintenance

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The Environmental Services Division encourages residents to help prevent stormwater pollution and practice responsible water conservation when washing their vehicles, including boats and watercraft. Runoff from washing vehicles in private driveways or on the street can carry harmful pollutants into the City’s stormwater drainage system. The stormwater catch basins all lead to surrounding waterways such as canals and rivers. Pollutants create unpleasant odors, reduce water quality, and pose serious health and environmental issues for humans and wildlife. Listed below are some tips to help reduce runoff and pollution into stormwater drains when washing vehicles:

Stormy Vehicle Maintenance Tips

  • Use a trigger or twist style hose nozzle to shut off water when not using the hose.  An open-ended hose left running wastes gallons of water.
  • Rinse minimally.  Lightly rinse the vehicle, wash with a sponge and bucket, then do a final rinse.
  • Park your vehicle on the lawn or swale when washing it.  Rinse water will be absorbed into the grass instead of pooling up in your driveway or on the street.
  • Consider using “waterless” car wash solutions.  Retailers now carry cleaning products that can be applied to your vehicle even when it is dry.  Most products also double as a wax and can be wiped or buffed off.
  • Bring your car to a commercial car wash that recycles its water.
  • Download Stormy’s Vehicle Maintenance Tips Card

To avoid polluting the environment you can:

  • Practice proper automotive maintenance. Check all vehicles and motorcycles for leaks. Properly clean up any spilled fluids immediately with an absorbent material such as cat litter or sand and properly dispose of waste.
  • Dispose of left over automotive fluids such as oil, transmission or brake fluid at your nearest household hazardous waste (HHW) collection center.  For more information, see Residential Solid Waste and Bulk Trash Services.
  • Most automobile fluids may also be taken to a local auto parts store or repair shop for disposal.  (Call the location first to see if fluids are accepted and whether there is a fee to dispose of them.)
  • Use a funnel and change vehicle fluids carefully, using drip pans to avoid spills.
  • Drain fluids such as gas, brake fluid, transmission or hydraulic oil, brake and radiator fluid from all stored vehicles or parts

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