Auto maintenance
  • Auto maintenance consists of regular tune-ups that ensure a vehicle is functioning properly, such as an oil change.

  • Vehicle service can have serious impacts on water quality due to the amount of chemicals involved in regular maintenance. According to the American Community Survey, over 50% of Vermont families have two or more vehicles at home.

  • Throughout the year, fluids including motor oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid drip onto roads and wash into local streams, contaminating them.

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Photo courtesy Don’t Drip and Drive.

Image courtesy Bannon Engineering.

Prevent chemicals from spilling or leaking onto the ground - and NEVER dump in storm drains.

When performing vehicle maintenance, follow these simple steps to minimize impacts on water quality:

  • Maintain vehicles regularly to prevent leaks.  Leaks of oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and gasoline contaminate soils and waterways.

  • Avoid hosing down your garage floor and driveway. Small particles and contaminants can be washed into storm drains and pollute water. Instead, sweep regularly and dispose of waste in the trash.

  • Use a commercial car wash. This will prevent oil, grease and other toxins from washing into storm drains. Car washes are required to send their wastewater to treatment plants. If you cannot access a car wash, spray your vehicle on a lawn, which can absorb chemical runoff.

  • Never dump oil or other fluids down storm drains.  The majority of storm drains discharge directly into local waterways and do not receive any form of treatment.

  • Recycle motor oil and lead acid batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations. Other recyclable items include: oil filters, antifreeze, cleaning solutions, hydraulic and transmission fluids, metal scraps, water-based paints, and used tires. For recycling information, contact Northwest VT Solid Waste District at (802)-524-5986.

  • Use a funnel and drip pan when draining or pouring fluids to avoid accidental spills. If a spill happens, clean up with a rag, not water, and dispose of the materials in the trash.

Did you know?
What do car washes do with their wastewater?

In Vermont, car washes are required to send their wash water to a wastewater treatment facility to remove oils and other pollutants. Some car washes pre-treat this wash water with an oil/water separator before sending it to the treatment facility.

Deeper dive