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Car Washing
Car Washing is Harmful to the Environment
When you wash your car on a compacted surface, the dirty water or effluent containing soap, heavy metals, road grime, greases, and oils can enter our storm drains.

Unlike sanitary drains, storm drains usually run directly into creeks, ponds, lakes, and the Puget Sound. Untreated effluent destroys aquatic habitat, harms fish, and degrades water quality. Even biodegradable soaps may be harmful to fish!

What Can You Do?
If you are washing your car at home, find a grassy area that will soak up the runoff before it can reach a drain or ditch. Conserve water! Use a spray nozzle with flow restriction to minimize water volume and runoff. Empty your wash buckets into sinks or toilets.  Car wash kits are also available for check-out through the City.

Instead of washing your car at home, use a commercial car wash facility. Commercial car wash facilities are required to send their runoff into the sanitary sewer where it is treated at a treatment plant. Commercial systems are also designed to use less water per car than the average car wash at home and also reuse their water several times before sending it to a treatment plant. For additional information see Washing your car at home.

Charity Car Wash Events
The Puget Sound Car Wash Association (PSCWA) is a local organization that promotes water quality by offering tickets to qualifying non-profit organizations. These tickets can be sold to the public for a car wash at participating car wash facilities. The Elephant Car Wash is a participating member, located at 13855 1st Ave. S. Please click here for promotional information.

Please visit Charity Car Wash for more information or call (800) 509-9274. Charity car wash events can also use the car wash kits described below.

Car Wash Kits
If your community or organization wants to sponsor a car wash event for a fundraiser, or if you are washing cars in a parking lot or other area that cannot drain away from the City's stormwater drainage system, please call Public Works at 206-248-5521 to make a reservation for a car wash kit.  Check out procedures for the car wash kit are here.
Car wash kits contain a catch basin insert, pump and hose that can be used to route dirty water away from a storm drain and onto adjacent grassy areas or into a sanitary sewer.  These kits are also great for washing off your parking lot!

These kits were made possible by grant programs provided through the Water and Land Resource Division of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, and are now being maintained with the City Surface Water Fund.

Contact Us
Please direct your comments or questions to Dan O'Brien at (206) 248-5538, or , or by writing to:

City of Burien
Department of Public Works
400 SW 152nd St, Suite 300
Burien, WA 98166

400 SW 152nd St, Suite 300  /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 241-4647  /  Fax: (206) 248-5539
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