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Saving Water & The Environment

With summer upon us and the predictions of hot times ahead, we need to think not only about the impacts on our customers and business, but also on potential environmental impacts and what it all means to us as car wash owners.

Our cars are valuable and need to be well maintained and looked after. It is easy to care for your car in a way that can both save water and reduce your environmental impact on the rivers, creeks, lakes and coastline.

What seems like just a little bit of soap and dirty water flowing down the gutter, is much more serious than you think. A single uncontrolled car wash might appear inconsequential, however, when extrapolated over an urban area for a year, the pollutant loading becomes very significant.

Extensive research has determined that over 13 Gigalitres of contaminated wastewater are being directed into our stormwater systems across Australia each year as a result of uncontrolled vehicle washing on hard surfaces. That is the equivalent to 5000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of toxic waste and contaminated sludge.

It is far worse than just detergents and mud being flushed into the streams and rivers. The waste water includes petroleum hydrocarbon waste (gasoline, diesel and motor oil), heavy metals such as copper, lead and zinc, nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen), surfactants and suspended solids. This cocktail of waste far exceeds accepted health standards and destroys marine environments.

Every commercial car wash must have a Trade Waste Agreement which requires approved EPA treatment and disposal of waste, to protect Australia’s precious rivers, lakes and coastline. This includes oil separation, solid sludge collection and disposal and the remaining waste water directed into the sewer system for the correct regulated cleaning processes.

Saving Water at the Car Wash

As car wash owners we can meet the demands of the busy summer ahead while still saving on water usage and reducing potential environmental impacts. Some commercial car washes use as little as 30-40 litres of water per vehicle wash. Use of modern equipment and water recycling technology means that car washes use much less water than most people think.

Business owners face the challenge to meet and satisfy customers’ evolving needs and wants. Understanding customers through their attitudes and behaviours should be a constant process in order to meet changing demands. One of the options we can do to let customers know we are environmentally conscious is to get car wash water rated. The Car Wash Water Saver Rating Scheme enables responsible car wash operators to demonstrate their high environmental standards in water use. The rating scheme was first developed to allow commercial car washes to operate even in times of severe water shortages.

Australia is one of the driest countries on earth. Many areas of Australia have been in drought for years. And we extract too much water from many streams and rivers, compromising wildlife and natural eco-systems. Despite recent rainfalls in some of these drought areas, every Australian needs to help conserve water, our most precious natural resource.

Every individual who decides to protect the environment by using a regulated commercial car wash instead of washing their car at home is making a difference. It makes more sense during these predicted drought periods for car lovers and car wash customers to turn to their local car wash. Expect to see a boom in business over the summer!! Every car wash matters. Be part of the revolution. Save the environment, save water, save dollars and increase your revenue by being water savvy. Sounds like a dream right?!

© Prowash Australia
Author: Liz Reisman
Date Published: 1 December 2015