Charity Car Wash Requirements

Are you holding a charity car wash? How can you follow the laws to keep dirty car wash water from going into the stormwater system and our rivers?  It’s easy!

1.  Check out the Car Wash Kit.  Sumner has a car wash kit that diverts water from the storm drain and into the sewer system where it will get treated before returning to the river. One kit is available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so act early.

2.  Fill out the Car Wash Form CleanGreen to reserve the kit and contact the Permit Center at 253-299-5530.

3.  Reward Clean & Green washes.  Car washes using the Car Wash Kit will have a sign that says “Clean & Green.” If a charity car wash isn’t on gravel and doesn’t have the sign, pass it by. If you feel comfortable, let them know that you would have been happy to support their cause if they were taking the proper precautions to keep our water clean.

4.  Hold car wash on gravel. Same principle applies with the ground filtering the grease and soap out of the water before it returns to our water system.

Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, boating or simply drinking clean water, this affects you. Every time you wash your car on a driveway that drains onto a street, you’re pouring your car’s grease, grime plus some soap, into our rivers and water system!  More about Sumner’s stormwater.

Washing Your Personal Vehicle

What can you do to wash your car while keeping our rivers clean?

  • Go to a commercial car wash. By law, they must run the water through special filters and processes so that it is not sending the soap and grease into the storm drains and rivers.
  • Wash vehicles on lawn or gravel. The soil is a natural filter. By washing your car on the lawn or gravel, your run-off will be filtered by the ground rather than go into the street to the storm drain and to the river.
  • Divert the water.  Many of Sumner’s driveways are adjacent to gravel alleys rather than the street. If you are sure your run-off water is going into a gravel alley or lawn, you’re fine.
  • Use biodegradable soaps.  Biodegradable soaps are known to be less harmful to the environment, but still contain oxygen depleting chemicals. Use sparingly and in addition to rather than instead of the other options.
  • Use a California Duster. Wax coated cotton strands lift dust without scratching paint. When used often enough, the duster can reduce number of car washings.

Do you see a problem happening?  Let us know.

City of Sumner Public Works Dept.
If it’s after-hours, still call this same number and voicemail will guide you to obtain access after-hours.

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