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Car Washing



Salmon Friendly Car Washes

Runoff from car washes is highly toxic to aquatic life and is one of the reasons that streams are not as healthy as they should be. Unlike the sanitary sewer systems, water that runs into the storm drains goes directly into lakes, streams, and wetlands with little or no treatment. Here's what you can do to make your car wash "salmon-friendly."

1. Take your car to a commercial car wash. Commercial car washes are required by law to divert their water into the sanitary sewer, where it gets cleaned at a treatment facility.

2. If you do wash your car at home, do it on a grassy surface, where the soapy water can soak in, rather than on pavement, where it will runoff into a storm drain. Empty your dirty wash buckets into a sink or toilet, rather than into the storm drain.


Car Wash Fundraisers

Realizing that car washes are an important fundraising tool for many groups in the community, the City of Federal Way offers two environmentally safe solutions for sponsoring a charity car wash event that is in compliance with the laws.  Please consider one of these methods in your plans:

1. Sell tickets through a charity car wash program (preferred method): Charities sell car wash tickets that can be used at particpating car washes around Puget Sound. To find out more visit CharityCarWash.org or BrownBear.com and click on "Programs."

2. Check out a free car wash kit: The City of Federal Way has two special kits available that pump wash water into the sanitary sewer system, keeping pollution out of local surface waters. All Federal Way charities and groups may borrow these kits, at no charge, from the Public Works Department. To reserve a kit please call 253-835-2704 or email SWM@Cityoffederalway.com.