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Taken from The Wall Street Journal

Towns May Shut Off Tap
On Home Car Washing
By JIM CARLTON
December 4, 2007; Page B1

The surging environmental movement appears poised to claim a common American pastime: washing the family car.

In King County, Wash., local officials are mulling a move to prohibit residents from washing their cars on the street over concerns that the runoff is sloshing into Puget Sound. In Fairfax, Calif., fearing similar runoff pollution, officials have proposed a ban on washing cars in front of one's home, with citations and possible imprisonment for violators.

AT THE CAR WASH


• The Issue: Municipalities are trying to limit at-home and charity car washing, saying it wastes water and pollutes.
• The Debate: The car washes are popular with fund-raising groups and drivers; some say the concern is overblown.
• What's Next: Some towns are seeking alternatives, like waterless cleaners or asking commercial car washes to sell discount tickets that groups can resell to raise funds.In Santa Monica, Calif., city officials drafted a plan in October to rein in car washing by groups such as the Boy Scouts or soccer clubs. The city deems such car-wash fund-raisers "one of the biggest water wasters and pollution-generating events of this type," according to its proposal. So it wants to set up a pilot program in which at least some fund-raisers will be asked to volunteer to use a new "waterless" cleaning product.

Across the country, environmental worries are fueling a crackdown on the automotive bucket brigades that have been a staple of American culture. Many towns -- particularly those on the eco-friendly West Coast -- cite reports showing that soap and grime from home car washes can run into the nearest stream or creek, poisoning the fish and other wildlife.

In Santa Monica Bay, for example, 30 million to 40 million gallons of urban runoff from sources such as car washing flows into the bay every day when it doesn't rain, according to Heal the Bay, an environmental group. The environmental groups don't take much issue with commercial car washes, because most of those funnel runoff into municipal sewer systems for treatment.

Industry officials say the trend is likely to spread east. "Without a doubt, this is not going to be just a West Coast trend but a national one," says Mark Thorsby, executive director of the International Carwash Association, an industry trade group based in Chicago, whose members could see a boost in business where amateur car washes are banned.

Still, many cities find that not all of their residents are so eco-conscience -- at least when it comes to the dirt on their cars. Many locals complain that the pollution caused by washing a car is miniscule compared to how much oil, grease and other waste gets swept off roadways during a storm.

After Fairfax proposed its car-wash ban two months ago, about 100 residents crowded the town council chambers to protest the idea. "We have homeless people washing in the creek," fumed one of the protesters, 61-year-old Anne Moos. "Why don't we stop that first?"

Residents in the northern California town, 20 miles north of San Francisco, grouse that the car-washing ban was coming on top of some already strict water rules. Businesses in Fairfax are already restricted in how they can hose down their sidewalks, for instance. "It's ridiculous, because we can't hose it off even if the dog does whatever," says Rose Taber, owner of a local fabric shop.


Environment buffs: Washing a car without water in Santa Monica, Calif.
In October, Fairfax officials began considering a less onerous version of the ordinance, to merely "encourage" people to change their practices, such as washing the car on the grass instead of the street to limit the runoff. "People don't want their dwindling zone of privacy interfered with," acknowledges Fairfax Mayor Larry Bragman, who helped propose the compromise measure.

In some communities, officials are looking to emulate a program launched in 1995 by the Puget Sound Car Wash Association. The association, an industry group, sells discounted tickets for commercial car washes to fund-raising groups. A participating Boy Scout group, for example, would resell the tickets to auto owners to have their cars washed commercially instead of washing the cars themselves.

"The upside of this is you can sell these tickets year-round, including in winter when it's too cold to do a car wash," says Kathy O'Halloran, a 48-year-old mom who helped organize a drive to sell the tickets for her son's 8th-grade class last year at Sacred Heart School in Bellevue, Wash.

Still, the program has drawn some ire. When Fremont, Calif., city staffer Michelle Pelayo asked Lance Winslow, a retired owner of a mobile car-washing business, whether her city should adopt the Puget Sound coupon program, he called it a ploy by commercial car washes to get more business. "Coupon car wash fund-raisers don't make much money, and they certainly don't teach kids teamwork, earning their own money, hard work ethic, customer service and goal setting," he wrote to her in an email.

Christina Broadwin, co-president of the Parent Teacher Association at the Gomes Elementary School in Fremont, says her nonprofit parents' group is prohibited from endorsing specific businesses like a car wash and so would have trouble using the coupons. Industry officials say they don't make money from the program, and that their work is otherwise widely supported.

In Santa Monica, city officials want water to be eliminated from residential car washing as much as possible. They have seized on a product called Green Earth Waterless Carwash, made from liquid organic soaps and other ingredients that is buffed off, not rinsed. The product was developed earlier this year by Jeff and Lisa Peri, a Los Angeles couple, after doctors diagnosed their toddler daughter as suffering allergic reactions after inhaling fumes from chemicals, including those used in commercial car washes.

Santa Monica officials saw a demo of the waterless product two months ago. "I was convinced this type of car wash has serious potential to save water, eliminate water runoff and make a car look really clean and shiny," says Kim O'Cain, Santa Monica's water-resources specialist, who has applied for funding to test it for one year by using it on the city's fleet of 200 cars and trucks, in a car dealership, a rental-car agency and in six fund-raisers.

Waterless car washing isn't without its issues. Since car dealership Lexus Santa Monica purchased the Green Earth product a few weeks ago, general sales manager Alan MacLoughlin says his workers have had to spend an average 15 minutes longer cleaning the cars because it takes so long to wipe and buff them with the towels. Still, he says, "the savings in water is huge."

Some officials confess to feeling bad that they are cracking down on car washes. In Washington state, King County officials recently started enforcing old rules prohibiting soaps and other car-washing detergents from being poured down storm drains. In the summer of 2006, the county shut down one church group's car-wash fund-raiser after officials discovered the gas station where the event was taking place was allowing the water to flow into the street.

"It was kind of sad," recalls Sue Clarke, a senior county water engineer who was on the scene. "I drove up to the car wash, and there were some teenaged kids standing around and they said, 'You're the person who made us stop washing cars.' "
 

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What if they collected rain water and used that?

What if they pulled seawater in, desalinated it, and then used that water instead?

DAAAAAAAAAAANG ... Aint politicians in the FRUIT & NUT state got something else to worry about ... ???
 

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Maybe it's time we seriously gave some thought to jettisoning all human life off the planet. What with our pesky cleanliness issues, and the insane amounts of carbon dioxide we constantly produce (also known as "respiration"), not to mention the huge carbon footprints we leave everywhere we go, we're clearly the biggest threat to this planet that currently exists. I mean, we behave as if this planet is here for us to live on or something. So we definitely need to evacuate all of humanity to some other planet that is less conducive to actual living, so that we'll all die screaming for air in some filthy lifeless methane-laden acidic environment, as we so richly deserve. I vote that we start launching the environmentalists first, followed closely by the politicos who are so keen on saving us from ourselves. Just to get everything set up first, you understand. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm just glad that I'll be dead before this b/s really gets out of hand in 20 to 30 years.
 

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I think we should just ban rain. Then our cars wouldn't get so dirty...
 

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Thats rediculous. Whats the difference between washing your car at home and at a car wash? The same amount of water will be used,if not more because of the water pressure, and it still has run off.

Sometimes I wonder about the government and the silly little things they worry about.
 

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RayS said:
Maybe it's time we seriously gave some thought to jettisoning all human life off the planet. What with our pesky cleanliness issues, and the insane amounts of carbon dioxide we constantly produce (also known as "respiration"), not to mention the huge carbon footprints we leave everywhere we go, we're clearly the biggest threat to this planet that currently exists. I mean, we behave as if this planet is here for us to live on or something. So we definitely need to evacuate all of humanity to some other planet that is less conducive to actual living, so that we'll all die screaming for air in some filthy lifeless methane-laden acidic environment, as we so richly deserve. I vote that we start launching the environmentalists first, followed closely by the politicos who are so keen on saving us from ourselves. Just to get everything set up first, you understand. :wink:
ROFLMAO ... :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:
 

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RayS said:
Maybe it's time we seriously gave some thought to jettisoning all human life off the planet. What with our pesky cleanliness issues, and the insane amounts of carbon dioxide we constantly produce (also known as "respiration"), not to mention the huge carbon footprints we leave everywhere we go, we're clearly the biggest threat to this planet that currently exists. I mean, we behave as if this planet is here for us to live on or something. So we definitely need to evacuate all of humanity to some other planet that is less conducive to actual living, so that we'll all die screaming for air in some filthy lifeless methane-laden acidic environment, as we so richly deserve. I vote that we start launching the environmentalists first, followed closely by the politicos who are so keen on saving us from ourselves. Just to get everything set up first, you understand. :wink:
That is one of the best posts I have read in quite some time. Bravo Ray!!! :cool:
 

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i have taken to moving mine on the lawn and washing
not a drop runs down the street
hows that for environmentally conscious?.................lol
 

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Out here in the country we have been on a car wash ban since 2005......our water supply is from a
co-op....it aint cheap either.....i think my next step is to have a water well drilled.
 

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dg517 said:
Out here in the country we have been on a car wash ban since 2005......our water supply is from a
co-op....it aint cheap either.....i think my next step is to have a water well drilled.
That's probably against another law. Keeping you out of the co-ops water table...:eek:
 

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DavidMidgley said:
That's probably against another law. Keeping you out of the co-ops water table...:eek:


What law are you talking about?......no law out here against drilling a well.......whats holding me back is the 7 grand to get it done:mad:
 

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I said " probably ". I am just jerking your chain Dennis...;-)

Besides, sometimes wells are more problems than they are worth. Just buy some bottled water and use that...:lol:

7 Grand is allot of bottled water...
 

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Driveway car washing has been banned here only due to the drought. You have to go to a car wash that recycles their water, which we have in town. I find that I get a better and faster wash that way anyway- it is a wand wash, so brushes never touch it.
 

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BigBullitt said:
I'm just glad that I'll be dead before this b/s really gets out of hand in 20 to 30 years.
In my half century of life (maybe a little more) the only thing that has really changed to cause all of these problems is...

the number of people occupying mother earth. Advances in technology can't keep up with population growth.


All governments must very quickly address the issue of overpopulation or our numbers will destroy this beautiful planet.
 

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Here in California it isn`t just the run off into the bay so people will have to swim in the crap or stop going to the beach and stop surfing. While environmental issues are actually important, its a drought that has been in existance for years. Farmers in the San Jauquin Valley (where a great deal of the nation`s food comes from) are hurting big time. They are finally talking about water rationing. Let your lawns die, don`t wash down your driveway, etc.
Washing or not washing my f***ing car in my driveway seems a small thing in comparison.
 

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Annually I wash the pickup and my wife's car.

The Bullitt is another story. I wash it every six months, and use a duster and then detailer the balance of the time.
 

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when I was a car show in Calgary you could only wash cars at a wash centre
 

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Doc Coffin said:
Here in California it isn`t just the run off into the bay so people will have to swim in the crap or stop going to the beach and stop surfing. While environmental issues are actually important, its a drought that has been in existance for years. Farmers in the San Jauquin Valley (where a great deal of the nation`s food comes from) are hurting big time. They are finally talking about water rationing. Let your lawns die, don`t wash down your driveway, etc.
Washing or not washing my f***ing car in my driveway seems a small thing in comparison.
Say, Doc, are farmers still growing rice out there in the desert?
 
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