Fish-Friendly Car Washing

Many people enjoy a nice, clean car. While keeping your car clean is admirable, try following some of these fish-friendly car washing guidelines, to help keep harmful pollutants out of our waterways, and Puget Sound!

Looking for ideas to raise money for your charity that will also protect our natural waterways and fish? Promote Fish-Friendly Car Washing by pre-selling car wash coupons. Here are a couple of links to organizations that you could use: 
Brown Bear 
Puget Sound Car Wash Association 

The High Environmental Cost of "Fund-raising" Car Washes 

The water that runs off your driveway and into the stormwater drains from car washing is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. When you wash your car, the oil, road grime, and soapy water flow down the roadway gutters, and into the stormwater drains. These drains are designed to carry away stormwater runoff, but not pollution! The water that goes into stormwater drains flows directly into our streams, the Puyallup River, and eventually Puget Sound. Even small amounts of these pollutants can kill our native salmon and their eggs, as well as inhibit their ability to reproduce.

Fund-raiser car washes are a thing of the past now; they may raise a few dollars, but at the cost of harming our local waterways and fish that live there. In addition, letting car wash water flow into storm drains and the stormwater system is against City Municipal Code. Only rainwater is allowed to enter the stormwater system - anything else is considered an Illicit Discharge and may be reported to the Department of Ecology - but education and outreach is the primary avenue for preventing these polluting events.

Education is the best way to help others understand how our stormwater systems work and help them find ways to improve their daily tasks while reducing the impact on the storm system.

How can you help? 

Ways that you can help prevent car wash runoff from polluting our creeks, streams, and the river: 

  • Washing your car on your lawn or in a gravel area.
  • Using a commercial car wash. They capture the water they use, recirculate it, and eventually send it down the line to the treatment plant. 

Here are a few car wash locations within city limits:

 Big EZ Car Wash- Self-wash 

 1510 S Meridian 

 Blue Car Wash 

 1504 E Main 

 Brown Bear 

 4412 S Meridian 

 Classy Chassis 

 105 7th Ave SE 

 Elephant Car Wash- Self Wash & Automatic

 715 39th Ave SW 

 605 E Main 

 White-Glove Car Wash

 601 S Hill Park Dr. 

Some of these locations accept car wash coupons- head on over to the stormwater calendar to see how you can get one FREE.

Here are some other Fundraising Alternatives.