We All Live Downstream: Carwashes

Stormwater becomes a major source of water pollution when peopledump oil, trash or other contaminates into gutters and storm drains. The Coalition is dedicated to keeping our waterways clean and healthy by preventing stormwater pollution.

Lisa Hartman with the Salt Lake County Stormwater Coalition talks about another problem — carwashes — you should be aware of on Studio 5.

Charity car washes are illegal in Salt Lake County if they do not collect the dirty, sudsy water or wash cars on a grassy area. The car washes can be shut down and organizations hosting them can be charged a big fine by local government agencies if they are not taking the necessary steps to protect local stormwater or use a commercial car wash.

Instead of raising money, your organization could actually be paying a huge fine and lose all the money they raise for the event. So if you’re a high school club, a sports team, a church group considering holding a charity car wash, either work with a commercial car wash or take the necessary steps to protect our stormwater.

The convenient, easy way to raise the money and protect the environment is to use a commercial car wash. Individuals and/or organizations can log on to the Coalition website for more detailed information on protecting the environment while hosting a charity car wash. The Coalition even has local car washes that they can contact to create a partnership for their fundraising or the necessary steps that they need to follow to make your carwash a successful and profitable event.

Storm water is rain, snow and sleet that flows down the gutter into the storm drain and directly into rivers, lakes and streams. However, hose water used to wash your car can send dirt, debris, soap suds (even bio-degradable material can be dangerous to the plant llife and fish life) if hosed down the storm drain.

Storm water is never treated. Most people know not to pour oil or chemicals down the storm drain but do not realize that soap to wash your car, grass clippings, dirt, debris and pet waste when sent down the storm drain, plays a large role in stormwater quality … killing acquatic plants, robbing the water of oxygen which can kill fish.

To learn more about protecting the environment and local car washes to contact, go to ww.stormwatercoalition.org or call (801) 468-2711

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