Most car owners skimp on their car’s regular detailing appointment by simply doing the washing and wiping down on their own, right in their own garages. The bad news is that outdoor car washing has already been identified as one of the biggest factors that can increase the drainage of polluted stormwater into natural bodies of water, and even into our water resources.
What is storm water?
Storm water is basically any runoff that flow across the ground and drains into the sewers. It comes from natural precipitation and from everyday water use in residential and commercial facilities. When you have high amounts of chemicals mixed in with the stormwater, you also raise the risk of polluting aquifers, rivers, lakes, and seas. Eventually, the entire ecosystem in the community suffers, and residents will be hard-pressed to find clean and safe water for their everyday activities.
Soapy water from residential and charity car wash events have a notoriously high concentration of chemicals, dust, grease, oil, antifreeze, and grime. In most cases, the runoff goes straight into the storm drains and sewers without undergoing any kind of treatment to minimize the hazardous effects of such pollutants.
Dealing with water problems
Urban areas with high concentrations of automobiles usually have the highest levels of stormwater pollution. Government efforts are now being undertaken to encourage vehicle owners to use commercial car wash facilities instead of engaging in do-it-yourself car cleaning. Likewise, there is also a growing emphasis on using cleaning products that are less harsh on the environment but are as effective in cleaning cars.
While you may not altogether avoid washing your vehicle on your own, opting for expert and environmentally-friendly automobile cleaning methods will impact a great deal on your community’s water conservation efforts. These facilities are required by law to install equipment that will help in stormwater pollution prevention, so you can rest assured that whatever runoff is produced will eventually be treated before being released into bodies of water.
If you absolutely have to wash your car but don’t have the time or the money to call in professional help, here’s what you can do to contribute to stormwater management efforts:
- 1. Wash your vehicle on lawns, gravel, or other permeable surfaces.
- 2. Use eco-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products.
- 3. Block off the storm drain while washing the car to prevent the runoff from flowing directly into it.
- 4. Use hoses with nozzles that turn off automatically when left unattended.
Refraining from outdoor car washing will not only go a long way towards preventing stormwater pollution, it will also help conserve our limited water supply. Most car owners don’t realize how much water they consume every time they wash vehicles on their own, but the truth is that professional car care experts can do the same job using a lot less water. Breakthroughs in the car care industry have all been geared towards providing the same efficient and high-quality cleaning results while using less water and chemicals.
Ensuring that we have a sufficient supply of clean and safe water is no small feat, given the dwindling sources that we have today and the ever-increasing number of automobiles on the road. However, every small effort counts for a lot.