Canadian City Offers Car Wash Program To Reduce Water Pollution

June 8, 2007

The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee in Junction Creek, Ontario, Canada, has launched a "Creek Friendly" Car Wash program aimed at reducing water pollution in the city.

"Most people don’t think that washing their vehicle in a driveway or parking lot will do any harm, but the city's storm drains carry this wastewater, without any treatment at all, to waterways including Junction Creek," says Carrie Regenstreif, manager of special projects with the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee. "This wastewater contains a mixture of soap, grime and other chemicals that are harmful to fish and other aquatic life."

Regenstreif says the program will focus on reducing this pollution.

First, the group has purchased a special system to loan to fundraising groups holding car wash events. A vehicle is driven onto the system to be washed. The liquid is then collected via sump pump and disposed of in the sanitary sewer system (to be treated at the municipal facility).

There will be no charge for this service, thanks to grants the group has received from Environment Canada's EcoAction Community Funding program and Shell Environmental Fund.

The group also promoted the use of commercial car wash facilities, as an alternative to washing vehicles in the driveway. Commercial car washes are required to use specialized systems to trap contaminants and dispose of wastewater so that it does not enter local waterways.

Regenstreif says the program is part of a bigger push by the JCSC over the next few years to raise awareness about storm water runoff and to suggest ways residents can reduce harmful impacts on Junction Creek.

Source: Junction Creek Stewardship Committee