Clean Cars - Clean Creeks
Washing your car in your driveway or in the street can be a dirty business. The water that rinses off your car contains road grime, oil and grease, heavy metals, and soap. Even a small amount of these pollutants are toxic to fish and other aquatic animals.
When you wash a car on a paved surface, like a driveway or parking lot, polluted wash water flows directly into a nearby storm drain. From the storm drain, polluted runoff flows into our creeks, lakes and wetlands without treatment.
How Can You Have a Clean Car & Clean Creeks?
The best way to wash your car is at a commercial car wash. They are required to send polluted wash water to the sanitary sewer system, which cleans and treats water before it is discharged to Puget Sound. Most car washes reuse water several times before sending it to the sewer.
If you wash your car at home, wash it on a grassy or gravel area, where the wash water will soak into the soil and won’t drain directly to a storm drain or local water body.
What About Car Wash Fundraisers?
We can help you make your next car wash fundraiser creek-friendly...
Car Wash Kits
Borrow one of our Car Wash Kits for your next car wash fundraiser. They are easy to use and keep dirty car wash water out of local creeks and lakes. The kits are available for use, free of charge, to any community group holding a car wash in Kirkland.
These kits do not work at all locations. For this reason, please contact us at least 2 weeks prior to your car wash event. To ensure that soapy water can be diverted to the sanitary sewer at your site and to check out a Car Wash Kit, please contact Public Works' Education & Outreach Specialist or call (425) 587-3858.
Car Wash Tickets
Community groups can sell tickets redeemable at environmentally friendly, commercial car wash facilities throughout the Puget Sound area. The Puget Sound Car Wash Association (PSCWA)
is a local organization that offers custom-printed car wash tickets to organizations for $2.50 each. Groups usually resell them at $6 to $8 each.
Selling car wash tickets instead of having a parking lot car wash is not only better for the environment, it’s better for your organization. The program is easy to participate in and the tickets are easy to sell - no sunshine or elbow grease is required.
Sending car wash runoff down the storm drain not only pollutes your lakes and creeks, it is also against the law (Kirkland Municipal Code Chapter 15.52). Although we try to educate first, you may face fines or penalties for repeat offenses.