Jul 10, 2009 | 7
A car may look sparkling clean after a wash, but the grime, oil and suds hosed onto the pavement don’t do much for the cleanliness of the environment.
"The soaps are just as toxic as some of the chemicals we regulate in the industrial [sector]. They kill fish," Sandy Howard, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Ecology, told the AP today. The department has singled out surface water runoff, including the car wash stream that flows down driveways, as the leading source of pollution in the Puget Sound.
Of course, officials aren’t suggesting everyone drive around in cars coated with enough dirt that a finger-written “Clean Me” is visible. Rather, a visit to the local car wash where the Clean Water Act regulates recycling and disposing of the used water could significantly limit the pollutants sent down the storm drain and straight into local waterways. For the die-hard do-it-yourselfer, parking the car on some grass or gravel before turning on the hose limits the contaminated runoff by catching and partially filtering the water. Even using a bucket to catch the dirtied water and then releasing it over a naturally permeable surface for filtration can help.
Oct 17, 2008
Federal environmental regulators must make "radical change" to the U.S. storm water program to clean up the nation's water and reverse degradation, a new report says.
The report by the National Research Council highlights the problem of combined sewage systems that attempt to dispose of both rainwater and waste. In most cities, those systems are reaching capacity, causing increasing amounts of rainwater to flow across urban landscapes—picking up pollutants from garbage to toxic chemicals—and into streams, lakes and rivers. That runoff pollutes watersheds and causes erosion.
The council recommends that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates storm water discharged by cities, shift its focus from chemical pollutants in storm water to the runoff problem. The EPA commissioned the report.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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