Every Day is Earth Day at Saucon Valley Auto Spa of the Lehigh Valley

Commercial car washes save water and our waterways

Commercial car washes save water and our waterways

Keep Lehigh Valley streams clean and clear by using a commercial car wash.

Home washing the family car has been an American pastime for generations.

However, did you know that cars washed at home or in the street can pollute our local rivers, streams and lakes?

Soapy water that runs off your car into the street eventually will travel into the storm water system. Storm water, unlike the water which enters the sewers, does not undergo treatment before it is discharged into our waterways.

Further more, the waste water that runs off a car contains a range of substances that may pollute the environment ranging from soaps and detergents, to mud, rubber, oil, road salt, and grease.

Home Car Washing Wastes Water

Water is also wasted with home washing of cars. One engineering study showed that a 5/8″ hose running at 50 pounds per square inch uses 10 gallons of water per minute compared to washing your car at a self-serve car wash for only 11.1 gallons total.

Some statisitics on water usage at an average commercial car wash self serve bay like Saucon Valley Auto Spa — a Lehigh Valley car wash located in Bethlehem, PA, route 378. 

    • Average flow rate wash and rinse: 3GPM (gallons per minute)
    • Average flow rate per-soak foaming brush and tire & engine cleaning: 0.6 GPM
    • Average time for washing and rinsing vehicle: 2.6 minutes
    • Average time for pre-soak, foaming brush and tire & engine: 5.3 minutes
    • Average water used for wash and rise: 7.9 gallons
    • Average water used for others: 3.2 gallons

Today, education and controls are in place to reduce polluting the environment.  It’s time to recognize that home car washing is truly a serious pollution problem, but it can be eliminated simply through more recognition, and by using a professional car wash where systems are in place to protect the environment.

Commercial Car Washes Use Water Safely and Efficiently 
The Clean Water Act requires professional car washes to pipe their dirty water to water treatment facilities or into state-approved drainage facilities designed to protect the environment.

For instance, the automatic and self-serve car washe at Saucon Valley Auto Spa uses water efficient equipment such as computer controlled systems and high-pressure nozzles and pumps, allowing them to clean cars thoroughly while conserving water.

Polluting waterways in this way is a breach of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and may result in a $750 fine for individuals or a $1500 fine for corporations.
If you must wash your car at home, here are some tips.

Wash your car on a grassy area to minimize the runoff.

Wash your car in the driveway if it drains onto a lawn or garden area, but avoid  the driveway if the water runs into a street or drain.

Always ensure the area where you wash your car does not drain into the storm water system, including the drains in the street.

Use a trigger hose – or even better, a bucket – to save water.

Use detergents and soaps sparingly. Better still, just use plain water, and a car wash sponge.

Here in the Lehigh Valley, there is a plethora of streams, rivers and tributaries, so let’s be mindful of the health of our waterways, our fish, and our swimming and boating resources.

What you can do is use a reputable car wash like Saucon Valley Auto Spa, located at 3510 Route 378, Bethlehem, PA, near Lehigh University, and the Promendade Shoppes.

For more information, visit www.sauconvalleyauto.spa.com

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