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A Greener Charlottesville: Green Car Wash

By: Myles Henderson Email
By: Myles Henderson Email

Going green is all about reusing and conserving our natural resources. Especially when it comes to water, and what better way to conserve water than at a car wash.

If you are driving on Route 29 or 250 near Pantops you have probably seen signs like this. But does recycling water make a car wash green?

Matt Bascom from Clean Machine Car Wash says, "Well we recycle the water that we use here at the car wash all of it is reclaimed in a reclaim system and then it's filtered and reused in parts of the car wash." Any water that isn't lost to evaporation or carried out with the car is used again.

Professional car washes also use technology like high pressure pumps and nozzles to help use less water. "We have different devices in the tunnel that measure how long each car is, some cars obviously are a lot longer than others. So that tells our computer system how long to keep each piece of equipment on." That ensures the just the required amount of water is used for cleaning each car.

But how much water are we really saving? Henry Weinschenk from Express Car Wash says, "The average person out there washing a car themselves, they probably use between 90 to 120 gallons and if there not careful, they don't have a shut off valve, and they also wash the kids and the dog in the process they will be up to 200." The average professional car wash only uses about 35 gallons on each car.

But what happens to the runoff? "Everything that is done in a commercial car wash goes to the sewage treatment plant and is filtered once more before it gets back into nature." If you feel like you must wash your car yourself be sure to use a water hose with a shutoff valve and make sure that the runoff doesn't go into the storm drain.

If you have a going green idea for Myles just send him an email at

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