Although washing vehicles at home is allowed with some measures in place, Santa Rosa Water recommends taking all cars to a professional car wash for a few reasons. One reason is to save water -a professional car wash uses less water per car than a home car wash with the hose running. The second reason is that wash water has the potential to transport materials attached to the vehicle such as soap, metal shavings from brake dust and rotors, vehicle fluids (engine oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid) and road contaminants to the storm drain. These can be harmful to water quality and creek habitats.
If you wash at home, and have considered alternative discharge methods, such as discharging to the sewer, and those are not possible, the following practices are recommended:
- A hose end shut off nozzle is required on all hoses
- Wash in an area where the water can infiltrate the ground, such as a vegetated or landscaped area (such as a lawn or permeable pavers).
- Pumps, vacuums, or physical routing may be used to direct runoff to the sewer, landscape, or other areas for infiltration or re-use.
- Practices that minimize runoff, such as using a bucket and sponge to contain fluids should be implemented.
If you see someone washing their car at home, please share these tips or direct them to streetstocreeks.org for more information.