ACWA believes strongly in the highest environmental standards for the commercial vehicle cleaning industry. This includes encouraging members to adopt environmentally sustainable practices in running their individual car washes as well as the broader issue of the impact of car washing on a local environment.
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. Commercial Car Washes must have a valid Trade Waste Agreement BEFORE they can begin operations. This applies to all car washes, and sets strict requirements for waste water disposal to protect the urban stormwater systems and Australia’s rivers, creeks, lakes and coastline. Best Practice Car Care
Research undertaken by Ecowise Environmental for ACWA in 2009 into the quality of car wash waste water revealed that the range and density of pollutants was much more harmful than previously realised and that home car washing presented a significant contamination threat to Australia’s waterways. See Recycling Research Report Summary
ACWA prepared a detailed ACWA stormwater statement and Pollution Calculator from the results of the research, identifying the quantities of individual contaminants found in the run-off from washing cars.
ACWA was asked to present a paper on the problem at the national Stormwater Conference in October 2012. This not only reiterated the significant contribution of home car washing to the pollution of Australia’s waterways but also emphasised the difficulties faced in enforcing regulations which should be prohibiting this activity and preventing any further pollution. See The Dirty Truth – Stormwater Conference presentation and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lGJ_2P7D0I
In 2014-15, ACWA developed the Stormwater Pollution Educational Awareness Campaign, with funding support from the Victorian Department of the Environment, Land, Water and Planning and additional support from Stormwater Australia, EPA Victoria and the RACV. The purpose of this campaign is to reach out to the community at all levels to demonstrate how everyday home activities can contribute significantly to the pollution of the local waterways and the seashore. Animated videos have been produced backed by a range of promotional materials. See www.thedirtytruth.com.au
The direct relationship between home car washing and the pollution of the stormwater system is further illustrated in these catchy videos on YouTube:
Simply put, when you wash your car at a car wash, all the pollutants and contaminated waste water are collected, cleaned and disposed of according to strict EPA Regulations. When you wash your car on the driveway, the street or any other non-porous surface, the pollutants and contaminated waste water runs into the stormwater drainage systems and flows completely untreated directly into the nearest river, creek or ocean shore. See Car Washing schematics and How car wash waste water threatens life in the waterways
ACWA is committed to educating the public on both the environmental and the water saving benefits of the commercial car wash industry. Car washes use very little potable (mains drinking) water by using fine nozzles and high pressure hoses, linked wherever possible to recycling systems which reclaim the water from the automatic wash bays.
On average, one car wash will use the same amount of water as 1 load of clothes washing, 4 minutes of garden watering or a 5 minute shower.
The car wash Water Rating Scheme (WRS), accredited under the federal Smart Approved Water Mark, provides a structured self-assessment of water use, verified by a sworn affidavit, to ensure compliance with strict water efficiency requirements. Car washes displaying the 5 star signage have ticked all the boxes for the sustainable use of our natural resources and demonstrate to their customers that they Care for your Car and the Environmeny