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It depends on what kind of car wash you’re talking about. Allowing soapy car wash water to enter any storm drains in the city is a violation of Bothell Municipal Code 18.04.260, even if you use biodegradable soap. This is true for both public stormwater systems as well as private stormwater systems. Car wash runoff contains many harmful pollutants that lead to poor water quality when they get into our storm drains and streams. Read more about the pollutants.
But there are some alternatives to traditional car washing you can try:
You can also check out a list of other eco-friendly fundraising options that don’t necessarily involve car washing.
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It may not seem like a small behavior change makes a difference, but when lots of people start making small changes, it eventually leads to big changes. Here are some simple things you can do right now to help prevent pollution and keep our water cleaner.
Pet waste is basically raw sewage. Dog poop contains harmful organisms like Roundworms, Giardia, and E. coli which can be transmitted directly to humans. These organisms can remain on your lawn for as long as four years threatening the safety of your pets and children. The only way to remove the danger is to pick up your pet waste and place it in the trash.
And if that's not enough of an incentive, you could also earn yourself a $250 fine for leaving pet waste on public or private property (BMC 6.16.011).
Learn more about picking up after your pet.
Most auto fluids don’t dissolve in water. They last a long time and stick to everything from sand to bird feathers. Oil and other petroleum products are toxic to people, wildlife, and plants. Rain washes the fluids that leaks from our cars onto driveways, roads, and into storm drains.
A small leak can turn into an expensive repair if you don't address it right away. Learn more about vehicle leaks and how to identify what kind of fluid is leaking.
Washing your car on a paved driveway or in the street sends pollutants from your car (oil, grease, fuel, heavy metals,brake dust, surfactants, etc.) into our storm drains and directly into our rivers, lakes and wetlands. We also have a code in Bothell that makes it against the law to discharge any pollutants into the public drainage system (BMC 18.04.260). These pollutants include the soap and chemicals that are used to clean your vehicle - even biodegradable soaps. It's most eco-friendly to use a commercial car wash, a waterless car wash product, or wash over a permeable surface like grass or gravel that can absorb the water.
Learn more about car washing.
Report spills right away by calling the 24/7 Spill Hotline at 425-806-6750. Our staff need to know about spills as soon as possible so we can try to prevent pollutants from entering our streams and other bodies of water.
Natural yard care includes build healthy soil, planting right for your site, practicing smart watering, and eliminating the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Learn all about it!
LID stands for low impact development techniques.
You can use these techniques and design considerations in building, construction, and development to help capture and move rainwater while improving the aesthetics of your property. Low impact development manages the rainwater that falls on your property by allowing some to evaporate back into the air, some to absorb into the ground, some to be captured and used later as needed, and the rest to slowly pass into the stormwater system and into nearby streams.
It's a landscaped, strategically placed, depressed area that is planted with native vegetation to soak up rain water. Learn more about rain gardens.
Check out this rain garden manual to teach you everything you need to know if you'd like to build a rain garden.
A shallow ditch with gently sloping sides and various layers of soils beneath. A bioswale - sometimes called a vegetated ditch - slows stormwater runoff and directs it to an area where it can soak in. It achieves the same goal as a rain garden, but is usually designed to manage a larger amount of runoff. A bioswale often uses grass and plants to stabilize the soil, reduce erosion, slow the flow, and absorb runoff.
Learn more about bioswales, their benefits, and how to take care of them.
Check out these options for safely getting rid of your hazardous materials.