Local News

Raleigh looks to keep car washes clean of water controversy

Posted May 14, 2008
Updated May 15, 2008

— As the level of Falls Lake has gone up, talk about the drought has tapered off, but discussions about water use continue. Raleigh officials are revisiting how much water car washes should be allowed to use.

Under the toughest water restrictions, certified car washes could use 55 gallons per wash. During that same time, residents were being asked to use just 35 gallons a day.

"It should be the other way around. It should be 55 gallons per person,” car wash owner Fred Gardner said.

A City Council committee voted Wednesday to let the Water Conservation Task Force study the issue. Some people argue 55 gallons per car wash is too much. Others have suggested that car washes only use only reclaimed water.

Most of the water used at Sudz's car wash on Peace Street is reclaimed.

"It goes through a strainer. Then it goes up through the reclaim pump, and it goes into the car wash,” Gardner said.

The water-treatment system was particularly useful during the most stringent water restrictions, Gardner said. To stay open during Stage 2 water restrictions, car washes had to be certified as using 55 gallons or less per wash.

"Possibly under certain drought restrictions, make facilities that do not reclaim reduce their water use by a certain percentage,” said Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist with Raleigh’s Public Utilities Department.

The city may also let customers know with signs which car washes reuse water.

"This is sort of (a) Monday-morning quarterback kind of thing,” Buchan said.

The Public Utilities Committee also voted Wednesday afternoon to move forward with a water reuse project.

The city has already invested $5 million dollars in the project, which is intended to use treated wastewater for irrigation.

The project calls for a 17-mile pipeline to serve some of the largest water users, like NC State University and golf courses.

The Triangle has faced three droughts – the most recent being the worst – in the last 10 years.


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  • Raydianse May 15, 2008

    TarheelsDontLikeEdwards - there are plenty of developments that the City of Raleigh has stopped, or made it so hard to get approved. I am curious do you go to the City of Raleigh Planning department and meet with the planners and the developers that are trying to get things approved? How do you know about every single subdivision that goes through the City of Raleigh. What kind of American are you to ask to limit growth of jobs? Right now because of all the limitations that this area is seeing people are being laid off left and right. Without growth, you have no builders, so no need for construction workers, no need for surveyors, no need for soil scientist, no need for graders, no need for architects, less work for plumbers, electricians, painters, contractors etc - without jobs for them they are out of work, their employees are too & that means no money to pay bills, put food on tables etc - Meeker needs to lessen restrictions and allow for growth.

  • dws May 15, 2008

    "If a car wash uses reclaimed & recycled water, I don't see a problem with it. Reclaimed & recycled water can't be used for sanitary or drinking purposes, so I don't see the harm in using it for car washes."
    Lone Voice in the Wilderness

    and there is the rub.....all a car wash has to do is prove it uses no more than 55 gallons per car.....recycling water is not a requirement....

  • corby May 15, 2008

    Car washes using reclaimed water is a good idea...but it has to be filtered to the point that dirt and contaminents washed off the previous vehicles is removed. Who wants all that junk and grit sprayed on your vehicle.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 15, 2008

    When Meeker campaigned for Mayor, he campaigned as the slow growth candidate that wanted to stop the sprawl that Raleigh was experiencing.

    Since Meeker has been Mayor, there hasn't been a development in Meekerville that the Mayor hasn't actively supported.

  • Lone Voice in the Wilderness May 15, 2008

    Wow, this board is filled with so many bright & useful comments, I'm surprised there aren't 19 people running for mayor & city council.

    If a car wash uses reclaimed & recycled water, I don't see a problem with it. Reclaimed & recycled water can't be used for sanitary or drinking purposes, so I don't see the harm in using it for car washes.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 15, 2008

    In the case of Meekerville, "stupid is as stupid does".

    Forest Gump was a pretty bright individual in some ways.

  • ncman May 15, 2008

    Problem is as Ron White the comedian stated "You can't fix stupid".

  • blackdog May 15, 2008

    ...55 gallons of water for cars...25 gallons for humans...I suspect the aliens from the planet Stupid in the Ignorant galaxy, have taken control of government.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 15, 2008

    "Dale Crisp is as delusional as the mayor and city manager."

    It's not that Dale Crisp is delusional, he's been told what to do and say by the delusional Mayor, City Council, and City Manager of Meekerville.

    Dale is only allowed to do and say what that the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager of Meekerville approve of.

  • ncman May 15, 2008

    Daale Crisp is as delusional as the mayor and city manager.