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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Impact of Car Washing

Are you aware there are acute impacts of driveway car washing?

Water from residential driveway or fund-raising car wash events is allowed to run down the street or parking lot and into the nearest storm drain. This wastewater may carry detergent, traces of metals and small amounts of fuels and auto fluids. This water goes untreated and right into the nearest stream. This has the potential to harm fish and other marine life in the streambed.

There were two practical fish toxicity tests done in Seattle Washington. The first one ran from August 28 to Sept 1, 2006 and used water collected from a fundraiser car wash at a commercial auto service location. The second test done was from November 29 to December 3, 2006 and used a consumer car wash detergent. Juvenile rainbow trout were used in both tests. The tests produced similar results. The first test indicated a percent concentration that was lethal to 50% of the test organisms, the second test indicated 3%.

Other research indicated that detergents as a rule will destroy fish mucus membranes and gills. Natural oils may be washed away, affecting oxygen uptake by the gills. Other freshwater organisms living in streams would also be affected.

Source: Stormwater magazine

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