Department of Ecology News Release - October 16, 2008
OLYMPIA - Contrary to a press release issued today by Business Wire, Washington hasn't banned residential car washing and has no intention of doing so.
The press release, promoting a specific consumer car-cleaning product, contains an incorrect statement about residential car washing in Washington state.
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is urging cities and counties to educate local residents about how to keep soapy, dirty water from entering storm drains and ditches - and ultimately, lakes, streams and the state's marine waters. However, there isn't a ban on residential car washing.
In September 2008, Ecology provided guidance about residential car washing to cities and counties covered by the state's municipal stormwater permit.
Ecology emphasized informing and educating people about the problem of polluted runoff and precautions everybody can take to keep our waters clean.
Ecology said it would take a public education approach to proper car washing and it urged local governments to do the same and not issue tickets, fines or other penalties. See the news release: www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2008news/2008-259.html.
Most people want to do the right thing for the environment. If they have the facts, they will act on them to solve a problem. Dumping used motor oil down the storm drain used to be common practice, but now the public knows better.
There are a number of simple ways to wash cars that don't result in soapy wash waters getting into our creeks and rivers. Wash your car over grass or any other surface where the wash water seeps into the ground. Or lay something on the ground to divert the wash water away from the storm drain. Another option is to use a commercial car wash.
Soapy, dirty car wash water, carrying with it oils, grease and toxic metals is a serious pollution source when it occurs on a large scale. Since most storm drains run directly into local streams or marine waters - without treatment - storm drains are direct extensions of those local waters.
Ecology has posted additional guidance about car washing on its website at www.ecy.wa.gov under “Spotlight.”
David Workman, communication and education, 360-407-7004; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandy Howard, communications manager, 360-407-6408 (office); 360-791-3177 (cell); email@example.com
Previous Department of Ecology news release: www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2008news/2008-259.html
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