Washington waters — ours to protect

More than 60 percent of water pollution comes from things like cars leaking oil, fertilizers and pesticides from farms and gardens, failing septic tanks, pet waste, and fuel spills from recreational boating. All these small, dispersed sources add up to a big pollution problem. But each of us can make small changes at home, at play, and at work to help keep water clean — and that adds up to a pollution solution.

Car washing

Washing your car isn't a problem. How and where you do it is what makes a difference. Most soaps contains phosphates and other chemicals that harm fish and water quality.

What you can do to help

  • Use a commercial car wash - either self-serve or machine wash

  • Wash your car on lawns or other surfaces where water can seep into the ground

  • Divert water away from storm drains

Charity car washes

  • Sell commercial car wash coupons instead

  • Borrow a pump kit to send the soapy runoff to a sanitary sewer

  • Locate the car wash to divert wash water into the sewer, not the storm drain

  • Rent a “Bay for a Day” at a self-serve car wash that is hooked up to a sanitary sewer

Download and share our education posters and fact sheets

Yard care Car maintenance On-site septic systems