Car washes are estimated to use 1.7 million gallons of water per day (MGD) in the State of Georgia, according to the Southeastern Car Wash Association. Recycling water at car washes is estimated to potentially reduce car wash water usage by 35%. The objective of this measure is to reduce water consumption from conveyor car wash facilities by requiring them to recycle water.
There are three main types of car washes: self-service, in-bay and conveyor. The self-service car washes are typically coin-operated with spray wands and brushes operated by the customer. In-bay automatic car washes are characterized by a wash bay in which the customer stays in the car as the carwash equipment uses either spray nozzles or brushes, or a combination of both to process the individual cycles. Self-service car washes and in-bay car washes are not included in this ordinance. The conveyor car wash is usually installed in a tunnel, and includes a series of cloth brushes or curtains and arches from which water is sprayed while the car is pulled through the tunnel on a conveyor chain.
The Metro Water District Model Car Wash Ordinance is available for general guidance. Local governments may use this model or may implement this requirement in other ways such as through local development codes, as a condition of water service, through a local policy, or other means of implementation.