Washing Your Car in the Driveway? Tips to Avoid Sloppy Runoff

Spending some time washing your car in your driveway can be a relaxing and satisfying chore, as you get to enjoy the outdoors while cleaning your ride. However, there are some environmental issues you’ll need to consider when washing your own vehicle. You’ll want to do your best to prevent a significant amount of soapy runoff from getting into certain areas of your property.

Here’s some information about dealing with car wash runoff in Bethel, OH and preventing car wash soap from going down a storm drain.

Why it’s important to prevent runoff

The use of soap can’t really be avoided when you’re washing your vehicle—you’re going to need to give your car a good scrub, and car wash soaps are the most effective means of lathering up and cleaning your vehicle.

However, most car wash soaps will contain certain chemicals that could be harmful to the environment. These chemicals could damage water quality, be harmful to plant life or, if they get into storm drains and make their way to waterways, potentially be harmful to fish and water life. By washing your vehicle in the driveway, the soap will run off along with the dirt, grime, grease and oil, likely flowing into nearby storm drains that run down to rivers, streams and lakes.

There are other types of soaps used in the process of washing cars that can contain phosphates, which may result in an excess number of algae growing in local waterways if those phosphates run through the storm drain. Algae harm water quality, as well as the appearance of the water in your area. When algae decay, they can suck up some of the oxygen in the water that fish and other water life need to survive.

Strategies to employ

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to avoid issues with harmful car wash runoff that could damage the environment.

First, you could adjust where you wash your vehicle. Rather than washing your car on your driveway, you could instead wash it on your lawn or on gravel, which will allow the water to better soak into the ground, where the soil can filter out the chemicals and contaminants that would otherwise pollute the water. Any excess water and soap you have in your bucket should either go down the sink or into the ground, where it can be naturally filtered. Don’t pour it down the driveway or directly into a storm drain.

You could also seek out car wash soaps that are made with natural ingredients that aren’t as likely to harm the environment if runoff does make it to the storm drains.

Visiting commercial car washes can be a good idea as well. While you may not get the same satisfaction from a commercial car wash as you do from washing the car yourself, you can at least be certain the water will be recycled and ultimately sent to a wastewater treatment plant.

For more information about dealing with water runoff from car washes in Bethel, OH, contact Gullett Sanitation Services Inc. today.

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