Mobile Car Washing Study


In Durham we have an ordinance that requires mobile car washing companies to contain, collect, and properly dispose of their wastewater to the sanitary sewer. Part of the Stormwater Division's job is to enforce this ordinance and ensure that polluted wastewater doesn't enter the storm drainage system. Because significant resources are dedicated to enforcement, this study was developed to measure how much pollution is avoided through these enforcement efforts. 

The study involved collecting wastewater samples from two different mobile car washing companies at two separate times. The wastewater from mobile car washing businesses contains dissolved metals, nutrients, and other water pollutants of concern. The results of this study suggest that mobile car washing compliance keeps hundreds of pounds of pollution from the city's stormwater drainage system annually. You can find out more by reading the Final Report, found below. Please call the pollution prevention hotline (919-560-7946) if you see evidence of this kind of pollution.

Project Manager

Michelle Woolfolk

Phone: 919-560-4326 ext. 30219

Relevant Documents

Mobile Car Washing Study Final Report (PDF)

Status: Completed

  • Project development and review, Spring 2011.
  • Sample collection and data analysis, Fall 2011.
  • Final study report, 2012.
Scientist collecting wash water samples from tarp after a car has been washed.