Car Washing

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Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Charity Car Washes

During carwash events, soap, dirt and other pollutants are washed into streets and drains that lead to the Columbia River.  The average 6 hour charity carwash generates 3,600 gallons of soapy polluted wash water. In 2009, regulations were passed in the Wenatchee Valley and throughout the state that prohibit the discharge of carwash water and pollutants to streets and storm drains.

The best option is to take your vehicle to a commercial carwash or spray booth where the wash water is sent to a wastewater treatment plant.  If you wash your vehicle at home, utilize an area where the wash water can soak into grass, gravel, or be diverted to nearby landscaping away from the street and storm drains.  Finally, minimize chemicals by reducing the amount of soap used. Use soaps, cleaners, and detergents that are labeled phosphate free or biodegradable. When done, pour your bucket of soapy water down the sink.
Car Wash Kit to protect stormwater
The Wenatchee Valley Regional Stormwater Management group has a program to loan carwash kits to non-profit groups.  These kits can be used to direct the carwash water to landscaped areas or into the sanitary sewer system.  Funding for this program is being provided by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

If you are planning a fundraising carwash in Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Chelan County, or Douglas County, please consider the following:

  • Find out how to borrow a carwash kit by contacting your local Wenatchee Valley Stormwater Program representative (see phone numbers below)
  • Explore alternatives to the traditional fundraising carwash event
  • Learn how to make sure your carwash is legal
  • Remember, Only Rain Down The Drain!

Car Washing at Home 
You can continue to wash your car at home just wash your car sensibly so the soapy water does not get into the storm drains. If possible wash your car on grass or a gravel area so the wash water can filter into the ground. Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle to reduce the amount of water used. Use soaps, cleaners and detergents that are labeled phosphate free or biodegradable.  Pour your soapy water out in a sink or an area where it can filter into the ground instead of down the storm drain. For more information: Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Washing (pdf)

Wenatchee Valley Stormwater Program contacts

Douglas County and East Wenatchee .... (509) 886-3728
Chelan County ..... (509) 667-6415
Wenatchee ..... (509) 888-3235

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