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City official: Take your car to a commercial wash

TORONTO — Lawson Oates, a director for Toronto Water, warns readers about the dangers of at-home washing.


TORONTO — As this city gets ready to celebrate the 3rd annual Clean Toronto Together Campaign, one city official is telling readers of The Toronto Observer to only wash cars at a commercial carwash.

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The April 12 story quoted Lawson Oates, the director of business operations management for Toronto Water, who said, “The most beneficial way from an environmental standpoint to take this is to take your car to a commercial carwash facility to have it cleaned there….Then we can treat that water at our water treatment plants and manage those materials that are in there. If people do it on the side of the road or in their driveway the soap and water runs off in to the storm system that goes down to rivers and streams and Lake Ontario."

Barb Elliot, a professor of ecosystem management at Fleming College in Peterborough, Toronto, also told readers how at-home carwash is dangerous to the environment.


She said waterway bacteria works extra hard to deal with the soap and detergents, which uses up more oxygen affecting plants and fish.

New water use rules to nix at-home washing

“Algae thrive on phosphorus, and that leads to these algae blooms,” Oates said in the story. "It actually turns the water green, because there’s so much algae … the fish and the ecosystem suffer and die, and it damages recreation use, and also can affect drinking water. In Lake Ontario, we have issues east of Toronto into the Durham Region on the waterfront there with algae blooms and so it’s important that everybody do their part.”


To read the full story, click here.

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