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)
- Brake fluid and brake lining
- 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.
- 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.
The washing of automobiles poses a significant threat to our raw water resources. Not only do soaps and waxes washed from automobiles find their way into storm drains but so do dirt, oils, grease, and automobiles fluids. For this reason, we offer the following guidance…
- Utilize a commercial car wash. These locations include treatment processes and their wastewater is conveyed to our wastewater treatment plant.
- Wash your vehicle on a pervious surface such as grass. This will increase absorption of the liquids and minimize runoff.
- Use a bucket and rag to wash your car and a control nozzle on your hose to minimize water dispersion.
If your organization is conducting a charity car wash, there are some important steps you can take to reduce and eliminate threats to our raw water resources. This includes…
- Partnering with a commercial car washing facility. Wash water from commercial car washes goes to the sanitary sewer system for processing. Call your local car wash to ask if they offer fundraising options for schools, teams or charities.
- Take measures to prevent wash water from entering storm drains. This may include washing cars in an area away from storm drains or on an area that allows wash water to soak into the ground, directing wash water away from storm drains by placing sandbags or other blocking devices in front of the inlets.
For these sites, please visit our stormwater information for businesses by clicking here.
Be sure to take our stormwater survey by clicking here!