What is the Vehicle Wash Code of Practice?

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The vehicle wash Code of Practice is a regulation for managing the proper disposal and containment of vehicle wash wastes, such as petroleum products and metals. Vehicle wash facilities in the Region must follow the code. Vehicle wash facilities include:

  • commercial car and truck wash operations
  • fleet operations with wash activities
  • vehicle dealership operations with wash activities
  • vehicle maintenance shops with wash activities

Why are vehicle wash wastes a concern in our environment?

Pollutants from vehicle wash can cause damage to the region's sewer system through the buildup of sludge, metals and petroleum products. Some are highly toxic, even in low concentrations, and can cause harm to our environment. Wastes which can cause problems include:

  • High levels of acidity or alkalinity
  • Heavy metals
  • Oil, grease and other petroleum products

Proper management will help ensure environmental protection, human health and structural integrity of the sewer system.

What can vehicle wash businesses do?

Following the mandatory code of practice will ensure that your business avoids the discharge of prohibited and restricted wastes into our sewer system. Source control efforts are helping to ensure that continually lower levels of contaminants are found in the waters off our region.

You can protect our environment, reduce your own liability and provide a greener, improved business image in your community.

  • Refrain from discharging prohibited waste into the sewer system
  • Install treatment works, including interceptors which retain oil, grease and solids
  • Perform routine inspection and maintenance of treatment works (see Trucked Liquid Waste for service providers)
  • Prepare a spill response plan and post signage
  • Keep accurate records

Create an Environmentally Sustainable Business

Employee education, maintenance of equipment and materials and proper handling of vehicle waste sludge are also important factors in keeping our receiving waters clean.

  • Install catch basins to collect and retain sand and grit from the wash wastewater
  • Store all materials such as detergents in their proper containers
  • Choose products with the least packaging and highest recyclable content

By reducing waste overall and disposing of waste in the proper manner, you can help protect our region's environment.

Read the Regulations

The Code of Practice for Vehicle Wash operations, developed under the Sewer Use Bylaw, gives a detailed description of the regulations that these businesses need to follow.

Code of Practice

Useful Documents

Guide Book

Maintenance Log

What are prohibited & restricted wastes?

Read the list of prohibited and restricted wastes, including details on maximum allowable concentrations.