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Pollution Prevention - Vehicle Cleaning

Most people aren't aware they are doing anything wrong. Whatever falls on or near the street enters a storm drain inlet and flows directly through the storm drain pipe to local bodies of water like creeks or streams. Drips, leaks and spills of soap, oil, grease, gas, antifreeze and other toxics used by automobiles are washed off and carried by rainfall or water to pollute our waterways.

Soap from wash water, entering a creek through the storm drain, is harmful to aquatic life and plants. Even biodegradable soaps breakdown slowly and negatively impact aquatic life. Automobiles can be washed regularly without soap and lots of water by wiping the exterior with a wet cloth or paper towel. If a soap wash is necessary, collect wash water/soapy water and discharge it to a sanitary sewer through the sink or toilet or take your car to a commercial car wash where the soap and pollutants are treated.

When it rains the oils and grease are all washed off the paved areas and flow directly to the creeks and streams through the storm drains. To prevent this from happening, get all leaks fixed and cover stained areas with powder soap and cat litter to soak up the oil. Then sweep the mixture up and dispose of it in the trash.

Be careful when filling and re-filling your car with fluids because any leaks and drips will be washed into the storm drain and into creeks and streams. Clean up all of the spills with the same process as oil leaks and drips.

Recycle used oil, antifreeze, oil filters and other household toxics.

Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information on this website, users are advised to contact appropriate Permit Sonoma staff before making project decisions. This may involve contacting more than one section within Permit Sonoma(e.g. Building, Plan Check, Zoning, Well & Septic, etc.) since each section implements specific codes or ordinances which may affect your project.
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Permit and Resource Management Department County of Sonoma