Water from vehicle washing can make its way across hard surfaces like parking lots and enter the storm drainage system. From there, wash water enters our creeks and streams, makes its way to rivers and, eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. Water from vehicle washing can contain contaminants such as nutrients and hydrocarbons and should not discharge to the storm drainage system, creeks, or streams where it can harm fish and other aquatic life.
According to State Regulations and the Town of Ashland’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Management Program Ordinance, only individual residents washing cars and nonprofit fundraiser car washes may discharge wash water to storm sewers. All others discharging from vehicle washing activities to storm sewers are in violation of the Town ordinance. For all nonprofit fundraiser car washes, using cleaning products labeled “water-based,” “phosphate free,” and “biodegradable” is also required by state law.
In order to minimize the environmental impact of car washing activities, the Town recommends utilizing any or all of the following techniques whenever possible:
•Wash cars on the lawn or grass area instead of driveway
•Wash cars in an area where wash water can soak into the ground instead of run into a stormwater inlet
•Use hoses with nozzles that automatically turn off when left unattended
•Use cleaning products labeled “water-based,” “phosphate free,” and “biodegradable” (required for fundraiser car washes)
•If you are holding a fundraiser event, borrow the Town’s Wash Water Collection System
If you are planning a fundraiser car wash event for a nonprofit group, we encourage you to fill out our Fundraiser Car Wash Registration form to receive pollution prevention tips and guidelines. Additionally, if you use the Wash Water Collection System, the Town will promote your event on social media. If you have any questions regarding car washing and pollution prevention, please contact the Public Works Department.