Residents Asked to Help Curb Water Pollution Using Commercial Car Washes Is One Suggestion in Plan

By Carpenter, Deana | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), July 28, 2017 | Go to article overview

Residents Asked to Help Curb Water Pollution Using Commercial Car Washes Is One Suggestion in Plan


Carpenter, Deana, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Monroeville is asking its residents not to dump anything except water into storm drains or onto roads and to wash their cars at commercial car washes rather than at home.

The suggestions are part of a plan the municipality is working on to control what ends up in its streams and waterways.

Each year, Monroeville gets about 36 inches of rain - that's about 12.3 billion gallons of water.

About 60 percent of that precipitation is not absorbed by the ground, officials say, which means roughly 7.4 billion gallons of stormwater runs off and flows untreated into streams and storm sewers.

That runoff can collect substances such as oil, gasoline, road salt, sediment and other contaminants from roads, lawns, construction sites and parking lots, which can pollute waterways. Higher runoff rates create deeper, faster-flowing streams, which, in turn, leads to erosion that can be harmful to ecosystems in those waters.

A draft of Monroeville's plan to manage its stormwater will be presented at council's work session at 7 p.m. Thursday, and the public will be able to comment on the plan then. Comments also can be submitted to the municipality until Aug. 17.

The suggestions in the plan on how residents can avoid contributing to the runoff and pollution problem include not dumping paint, pesticides, chlorinated pool water or pet waste into storm sewer grates or onto roads.

If residents wash their car at home, rather than at a commercial car wash - where the dirty water goes to a treatment plant - the municipality suggests washing the vehicle on the lawn, which can better absorb the water than a driveway or road can. Washing the car on the driveway is acceptable if water flows into the lawn from the driveway. …

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