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Where is there information about pressure washing cars?

Information about pressure washing vehicles is available from "Pressure Wash/Power Wash Discharges" [http://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6en/w/pw.htm], which notes that:

EPA recommends that companies or individuals take their vehicles to car washes*.  If a car wash is not available, NPDES permit requirements may be avoided and impacts on waters of the United States minimized if vehicles are washed in a vegetated or grassy area where the wash water will be absorbed into the ground instead of allowing it to run into the street and then into a storm drain.  There may be additional requirements if chemicals (detergents, waxes, etc.) are improperly used or if the absorbed water will reach an underground water body.  

*A properly operated car wash discharges all of its wash water to a municipal sanitary sewer system that treats the wastewater before discharging from the wastewater treatment plant to waters of the U.S.  Most municipalities have a pretreatment program requiring car washes to perform some type of pretreatment such as discharging through a sand filter and grease trap.  

You can also view "Managing Vehicle Washing to Prevent Contamination of Drinking Water" [http://www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/pubs/fs_swpp_vehicle.pdf], which notes that "vehicle wash water can carry sediment and contaminants to surface waters, and can contaminate groundwater by infiltration or by drainage to subsurface wells and/or septic systems."

For information about wastewater permits, contact the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program at http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/NPDES-Contacts.cfm

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 23002-24480
  • Date Created: 6/21/2005
  • Last Modified Since: 1/30/2015
  • Viewed: 2799

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