The average driveway car wash, if you leave the hose running, uses about 160 gallons of water. You are getting rust, oil, grease and trace amounts of other chemicals off your car. You are also getting dyes and phenols from your soap. What you end up with is 160 gallons of water more toxic than untreated sewage! All that waste flows down your driveway into the closest storm drain or creek. Commercial car washes recycle water, using about 10 gallons. When they're through with the water, it is discharged into the sanitary sewer system.
If you must wash your car at home, please follow the these simple suggestions.
- Park your car on the lawn. This will allow some of the pollutants to be filtered out before entering the closest water body.
- Use a bucket and sponge. Save the hose for the final rinse.
- Look for car care products that do not contain dyes and phenols.