<---Back to General Public Stormwater page

Automotive Care

Wastes generated by residents performing their own car maintenance can be substantial. The used oil from one oil change can contaminate 1 million gallons of freshwater — a year's supply for 50 people.Automotive waste includes:

  • Solvents (paints and paint thinners)
  • Antifreeze
  • Brake fluid and brake lining
  • Batteries
  • Motor oils
  • Fuels (gasoline, diesel, kerosene)
  • Lubricating grease.

If working on an automobile at home, here are some tips to keep in mind—

  • If you spill an engine degreaser, oil, brake fluid, tire cleaner or anti-freeze, do not hose it off. It will then eventually reach local streams and lakes. Instead, sprinkle sawdust, cornmeal, cat litter or a commercial absorbent over the spill. Let soak and sweep up.
  • Clean up spills immediately, whenever possible without using water.
  • Seal off floor drains connected to sanitary sewers when changing or filling oils or gasoline
  • Immediately repair vehicles that leak fluids and clean-up any materials or liquids that do spill.
  • Promptly transfer used fluids to recycling drums or hazardous waste containers.
  • Consider taking your car to a car wash or washing it on the grass or gravel, where the ground can absorb water and pollutants can be filtered.
  • Fix any car leaks to avoid contaminating our watershed with oil. One quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
  • Dispose of oil, antifreeze, paints and other household chemicals properly and according to instructions on containers.

Automotive Washing

The washing of automobiles poses significant contamination threats to our water resources. The learn more about how to reduce these threat, including tips for car wash fundraisers, check out our flyer here.

Additional Resources

  • Our web page dedicated to the auto repair and maintenance industry
  • Here is an excellent table on proper use, storage and cleanup of hazardous automotive waste. 

 

Be sure to take our stormwater survey by clicking here!