Fish-Friendly Car Washing

Many people enjoy a nice, clean car. While keeping your car clean is admirable, try following some of these fish-friendly car washing guidelines, to help keep harmful pollutants out of our waterways, and Puget Sound!
Having a charity car wash event? Want more visibility? Make yours a Fish-Friendly Car Wash event and have the event promoted here! Read more and see what upcoming events are scheduled.

Fish-Friendly Car Washing Tips

The water that runs off your driveway and into the stormwater drains from car washing is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. When you wash your car, the oil, road grime and soapy water flow down the roadway gutters, and into the stormwater drains. These drains are designed to carry away stormwater runoff, but not pollution! The water that goes into stormwater drains flows directly into our streams, the Puyallup River, and eventually Puget Sound. Even small amounts of these pollutants can kill our native salmon and their eggs, as well as inhibit their ability to reproduce.
Here are some fish-friendly car wash tips to prevent runoff pollution from flowing into the stormwater drains, streams and river:
  • Wash you car on your lawn - Instead of washing the pollutants down the gutters and stormwater drains, allow your lawn and landscaping to filter out the chemicals! The dirt and rocks naturally filter the wash water. Read more about this concept in the Rain Garden pages.
  • Use a local car wash facility - These facilities rinse off the grime, and the polluted water is piped to a treatment facility - not the river! Find a participating Puyallup charity car wash facility.
  • Use a Fish-Friendly Car Wash Kit (PDF) - These kits, available for free checkout from the City of Puyallup, use a stormwater drain insert and a pump to send the dirty water to the sewer system or a grassy area to infiltrate, instead of the stormwater drains.