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Car Washes and Wastewater

Car washes typically make you think of a fresh clean car, rainbow colored bubbles, and ensuring all windows are rolled up before heading into the wash.  What you might not be thinking about is where all car washes wastewater goes. If this is a question that has ran through your mind, then you are in luck! The article below is a brief overview of car washes and their wastewater.

Car washes can use anywhere between 15 and 85 gallons of water. That is a lot of water, and all of that water, dirt, soap, chemicals, oils and debris collected by the car wash needs somewhere to go.  In an effort to protect the environment and ground water storages, owners of car washes need to ensure that their wastewater is properly routed to the appropriate treatment and/or drainage facility.  Typically, car washes utilize the same sewage systems as neighboring homes in the local area.  These publically managed waste systems and the Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) federally manages treatment centers.

Car washes use many chemicals to get your vehicle sparkling clean, but car wash owners need to select the chemicals used with caution. If car washes use toxic chemicals, the local ground water and environment could potentially be contaminated.

Car washes today are working hard to use environmentally friendly chemicals, and to conserve the amount of water used. This is being done with technology, smart phones, water recycling and apps.   While some car owners might think that washing their car themselves will help conserve water, the opposite has actually been proven true. Letting professional car washes clean your vehicle saves you time and effort, and saves the environment from using excessive amounts of water and creating an abundance of wastewater.