Vehicle wash water contains pollutants like oil, grease, heavy metals, solvents and soaps. If these harmful pollutants run off your driveway and into the road, they can flow into storm drains and travel to our local streams, rivers, and Puget Sound - untreated. Over 2,000,000 gallons of contaminated car wash runoff flows into our streams each year!
Car going through a commercial wash
What does the law say about car washing?
We don't have a "car washing law," but we do have a law that specifies materials that are prohibited from entering storm drains. Soap (even biodegradable), detergent, and many other contaminants are included in the list of materials that should stay out of the stormwater system. You can read the entire list of prohibited materials in Bothell Municipal Code (BMC) 18.04.260. This BMC applies to both public stormwater systems as well as private stormwater systems.
How can I safely wash my vehicle?
If the method you currently use to wash your car allows the soapy water and runoff to drain into the street and storm drains, consider trying a safer method.
Use a commercial car wash
You can reduce pollution in our streams by using a commercial car wash.
Can't use a commercial car wash facility?
Wash on your lawn or graveled area so the soil can soak up the water and break down the pollutants
Try using a waterless car wash product
Save money by hand-washing your vehicle in a commercial car wash bay
Always divert the wash water away from the street and storm drains
What if I want to host a car wash as a fundraiser?
There are a number of other ways to raise money that don't negatively impact our water quality.