Take a look at a few things you may not have thought about when caring for your car. Did you realize that washing and maintaining your car can impact the environment?
While you drive to work or home next time, think about some of the following actions that may just help protect the environment. (These tips were taken from various EPA Twitter chats!) You can join Twitter and follow the conversation at @EPAwater #waterchat or follow along at http://www.twitter.com/epagov
Clean Cars: Use a Commercial Car Wash:
Washing your car at home is a dirty business. Oil, brake pad and tire dust, and other chemical residue build-up – along with soap – wash straight down the storm drain and flow, untreated, into nearby streams and rivers when you wash your car in the driveway or street. The water from commercial car washes flows into the sanitary sewer system and is treated by wastewater treatment plants before it enters local waterway.
The water from car washing contains oil, zinc, lead, copper, solvents and antifreeze. All of these can enter local bodies of water that lead to our lakes and streams – when we wash our cars on the street, in our driveways or in a parking lot. Soaps are a significant problem and are harmful to fish and the aquatic insects they eat.
Many soaps contain surfactants, which are chemicals designed to coat dirt and grime so they don’t settle back onto your car. Surfactants also coat fish gills and prevent fish and aquatic insects from getting the oxygen they need.According to Market research from the International Carwash Association, 38 percent of the public wash their cars at home.
Steps on how to fix your car’s oil leaks:
Dispose of Fluids Properly: Never pour anything but clean water down a storm drain, since most drains empty directly into streams or rivers. Recycle oil at collection centers throughout your areas.
Use Cardboard: If you have an older car that leaks a little oil, put a piece of cardboard under the leak when the car is parked. Periodically dispose of the cardboard at registered collection centers, not in the trash.
Skip Driving Alone.: Leave the car at home and take an alternative form of transportation, or carpool with other people in your neighborhood.
Motor oil is a pollution problem in our streams, rivers and lakes. Oil doesn’t dissolve in water, which means it sticks around for a long time. It’s toxic to people, wildlife and plants. Contain oil leaks that you know about until you can get your car fixed.
Thanks for thinking about the environment and GOING GREEN at work and at home!