YORK, Pa. — On Aug. 16, the York City Council adopted several changes to York's Stormwater Ordinance.
The new ordinance makes washing a parked car on a city street, alley, driveway, or in a garage without floor drains while using any type of soap illegal. Those who need to wash their vehicle may use only water to rinse off the vehicle. Dawn soaps, car washing soaps, environmentally friendly soaps, and detergents are no longer allowed.
This change in ordinance was mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in order for the city to remain compliant with the state’s Clean Streams Law, according to Lettice Brown, who worked with the York City Department of Public Works.
According to the city, soaps contain harsh chemicals that flow into nearby storm drains and then into creeks and streams. These changes were reportedly necessary in order to improve the water quality of Pennsylvania creeks, streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.
Alternatives to washing cars on the street are washing them on the grass, your lawn, or a stone pad. The grass or stone will promote infiltration instead of it freely running into the storm drains.
Residents are also permitted to take their vehicles to a commercial car wash where water is recycled.
Community or charity car washes are generally not allowed in York due to the runoff risk. A discussion may need to occur with the interested party and the City of York to work out a potential solution.