The soap from car washing seems innocent enough, right? After all, it’s just soap! But that greasy, sudsy grime actually pollutes our waterways with detergents, heavy metals, and other chemicals harmful to fish and wildlife. Even biodegradable soap should not be allowed to flow into the stormwater system. Biodegradable soaps are designed to break down in the soil through the actions of soil organisms, but will not readily break down in water. Remember this when soaping up on your next wilderness adventure and rinse your suds at least 200 feet away from any water body.
Fortunately, there are several Stream Smart options for cleaning your vehicle that are described below.
Holding a community car wash is a nice way to make money for your organization or club, but if you let the dirty water go into a storm drain, you are polluting your local stream. Consider holding your car wash on a pervious surface like grass or a gravel parking lot. If that option is not available to you, you can borrow a free car wash kit that will redirect runoff from a storm drain to the sanitary sewer system. More information on how car wash kits work is available at the Rogue Valley Council of Governments site. Several cities have purchased car wash kits that can be checked out from city hall.
Cities that currently have car wash kits available are:
City of Ashland (541) 488-5587 – Required to be used for fund raising car washes
City of Central Point (541) 664-3321
City of Phoenix (541) 535-1955
There is also a kit available for check out from the Rogue Valley Council of Governments Natural Resources Department at (541) 423-1370.
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