Car wash water contains road grime, oil and grease, heavy metals, and soap. When you wash your car in your driveway or in the street, polluted wash water flows directly into the nearest storm drain. From the storm drain, this polluted runoff flows directly into our creeks, lakes and wetlands without treatment.
Wash your car 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 also reuse water several times before sending it to the sewer.
At home: 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. Use chlorine and phosphate-free, biodegradable soap to wash your car. Even these soaps are harmful to aquatic life and water quality, so please use soap sparingly.
We can help you make your next car wash fundraiser creek-friendly...
Car wash kits: Borrow a Car Wash Kit 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 Betsy Adams or call (425)587-3858.
Try a green fundraiser: Community groups can raise and equal or greater amount of money when choosing eco-friendly fundraisers over car wash events. Not only are they better for the environment, they're better for your organization. No sunshine or elbow grease is required!
Wash Your Car, Not the Watershed - General information on car washing in Kirkland.
Clean Cars, Clean Creeks - Information regarding car wash fundraisers in Kirkland.
Ideas for Low-Cost Fundraisers - Information on low-cost, eco-friendly fundraisers.
Sending car wash runoff down the storm drain not only pollutes your lakes and creeks, it is also against the law (KMC 15.52). Although we try to educate first, you may face fines or penalties for repeat offenses.