I always use self service at car washes in the winter spraying my cars but I can not find out if the water is recycled or fresh water. Have I been spraying recycled salted water on my cars in the winter? Thanks for any information.
If they wont tell you, ask the local building inspector, sewage department, or health dept. if they have permits for waste water, or use a water recycling system. this is a matter of public record.
Most use recycled water
I don’t know myself, but even if the wash water is recycled, I can’t imagine how the rinse water would be, that would require separate recycle tanks, and there’s no way that would work as far as I can tell.
The water is filtered to get the dirt out, but it would be too expensive to use fresh water for wash and rinse cyle. From what I know the water is recycled, and there would probably still be salt and other dissolved minerals in it. That’s why they blow dry your car, since it would likely leave streaks otherwise.
For what it’s worth, the cabin air in a plane is mostly recycled as well, with as little as 10-15 % fresh makeup air. For the same reason; it’s -55F outside.
Having reviewed the plans in our fair city, not Cambridge all I have seen use fresh water and all used water drains directly to the sanitary sewer. We are in not an area that is affected by high water prices or conservation other than that from the Feds, low flow toilets and showers etc. Given the cost and lack of efficient technology for converting ocean (salt water) to fresh sure would give me second thoughts about using gray water to wash my car. If you live in a place where construction is permitted and regulated you may be able to review the plans to see what is going on at the car wash.
It varies from city to city. Many cities regulate it, others have no regulations. The owners of the car wash will use what ever is legal and cheap, sometimes just cheap.
I designed at least 15 car wash site plans around New England. They ALL recycle water using settling tanks for large debris. If they did not they would have a substantial water bill or expensive well(s) to keep up with the demand needed at a car wash during peak times.
The water is not 100% recycled as they blend with fresh water as makeup in the tanks.
I would not worry much either way about washing. If it makes you feel better go for it. In the end it makes little difference over the normal ownership period of a vehicle.
We had a water ban in our town a few years ago…and the ONE car-wash was still open…When people complained about it…it was determined by the town that it uses recycled water…so no drain on our water system.
Taste the water. If it tastes salty there’s your answer.
$0.25 self-service high-pressure spray wand car washes almost ALL use fresh water except in places with severe water restrictions. These washes use very little water compared to the $8.00 drive-thru units…
Try using Lucky Earth (http://www.luckyearth.com/) waterless car wash. It saves a TON of water and the dollars add up quick!