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Austin water restrictions shut down carwashes

AUSTIN, Texas — A contamination issue with city water resulted in a boil advisory and usage restrictions.


AUSTIN, Texas — According to, on Monday, Oct. 22nd, the city of Austin announced a citywide boil advisory for cooking and drinking water and put water restrictions into effect that include prohibitions on carwashing (personal and professional), irrigation, washing pavement and other surfaces, adding water to pools or spas and operating ornamental fountains and ponds.

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Carwash operators have become concerned about how the restrictions will impact their businesses, the article continued.

Dave Swenson, who operates four Arbor Car Wash locations in the greater-Austin area, said that only his location in Pflugerville, which does not have the boil water notice or restrictions, is still open, the article noted.

While Swenson said he is confident his company will survive because it has been in operation for over 20 years, he worries about other operators and their employees, the article stated.

“The newer shops, the smaller mom-and-pops, they’re going to go out of business,” Swenson said. “We’re paying wages, but [our employees are] missing out on their tips and bonuses because we can’t operate.”


Swenson said that in his 21 years in business, September was Arbor’s worst month ever; furthermore, he added, the heavy October rains have been bad for business, the article noted.

Swenson said he is losing $14,000 per day in sales for just one location and that if the city keeps carwashes closed for much longer, it will hurt his employees, the article noted.

“There’s no way we could afford to keep people,” Swenson said. “We pay pretty well, and we’re trying to keep them on and keep cleaning and going.”

Mobile carwashing companies have not necessarily had to close, however, the article noted.

Jake Lane, director of growth for NuWash, a local mobile carwash company, said that the company does not use city of Austin water and that the company is taking advantage of the situation to get new customers, the article stated.


“We’re getting our water from a source outside of the affected area,” Lane said in an email. “Since we use under half a gallon of water per wash (commercial carwashes use around 40 gallons per wash), we don’t need to bring in a lot of water to keep our business running. We’ve been receiving more calls than usual due to the other places being closed down for so long, so the downtime hasn’t been horrible for our business. The rain is the only thing impacting us.”

Philip Rickman, manager of the South Lamar Blvd. location for Genie Car Wash, said that all three of the company’s locations have been closed until further notice, the article stated.


In 24 years of working there, Rickman has never seen a water situation so bad that it would require the company to close, the article continued.

“We’re not making any money,” Rickman said.

Swenson said he was not sure why carwashes were being subject to the prohibition since many recycle their water and can use non-potable water for the washes, the article noted.

“If it’s a water usage issue, then it ought to come down to the big users,” Swenson said.

Nelson Andrade, a public information officer with the city of Austin, said he would look into whether the city’s large water users were being affected by the restrictions, but he was not sure when the water restrictions would be lifted for carwash operators, although the city looks at the issue on a daily basis, the article concluded.


Read the original article here.

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