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Car Wash
Why Car Washing Can Be a Problem
When cars are washed on paved surfaces, like a driveway or parking lot, the soap, automotive fluids, oil and roadway dirt that gets washed off goes to nearby storm drains. Water in storm drains flows directly to lakes, wetlands, streams and Puget Sound with little or no treatment. Runoff from car washes is toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

Car washing fact sheet

Residential Car Washing
  • Use a commercial car wash to wash your car. Most reuse water several times before sending it to the sanitary sewer system. In the sewer system, the water is treated before it is discharged to Puget Sound.
  • Wash your car on gravel or a grassy area, or anyplace where the soapy water will soak into the ground and not go straight to a ditch or storm drain.
  • Use chlorine and phosphate free, biodegradable soap. Use minimal amounts, because even these soaps are harmful to fish and water quality.

Planning a fundraising car wash?
Car washes that send soapy water to stormwater systems contribute pollution to the Puget Sound. Here are some options to make your fundraising car wash fish friendly.
 Car Wash Coupons  Fish-Friendly Car Wash Kits
Contact Us

Liz Satterthwaite 
Public Information Specialist
Email me
Ph: (253) 798-2462

Public Works & Utilities
2702 S. 42nd St.
Suite 201
Tacoma, WA 98409
Ph: (253) 798-2725