Automotive Pollution

Polly the Clean Car GraphicIn the Bay Area, cars are not just air pollution problems, they also contribute to water pollution. Every day, pollutants such as leaking engine fluids and debris from tire and brake pad wear, as well as particles from exhaust, build upon our streets, parking lots, and driveways. During rainstorms, stormwater runoff carries these pollutants into storm drains that flow untreated directly into our local creeks and the Bay harming riparian and aquatic ecosystems.  

How you can help prevent auto pollution:

Keep car wash water out of storm drainsWash water can carry detergents, oil, brake dust, metals, and chemicals into the storm drains. To avoid this, wash your car on an unpaved surface or take it to a commercial car wash. Download the Watershed Watch Discount Card for discounts on car washes at participating commercial car wash businesses. 

Fix fluid leaks immediately. If you see a build-up of fluids in your parking spot, place a drip pan underneath your car until you repair the leak. Store the fluid in a plastic container and recycle the used fluids with West Valley Collection and Recycling’s curbside pickup. Clean up any leaks and spills with an absorbent material such as kitty litter.

Change your oil on time. The longer engine oil is used, the thinner it gets. Leaks are more likely and exhaust emissions are increased. Be sure to recycle your oil and oil filter with West Valley Collection and Recycling’s curbside pickup.

Clean engines properly. Avoid products containing naphtha, nonylphenol ethoxylate, trichloroethane, or trichloroethylene. Try limonene, a citrus-based solvent. Use rags instead of water to clean your engine.

Cover your load. When hauling materials by truck, enclose your loads or cover them with a tarp to prevent anything from falling or blowing off the back.

Report illegal dumping or discharge. When you see dumped wastes or materials near or in a storm drain or see a person dumping anything into the storm drain, please call 408-354-5385 or complete an online Report A Spill Form.

Watershed Watch Discount Card

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