City tests mobile car washes' waste water for pollutants
By John Lucero
Daily News Staff Writer

Photo by Gerard Burkhard/Daily News

THOUSAND OAKS - City officials and the owners of two mobile car washes cleaned two vehicles and collected runoff samples Wednesday for testing to see if the waste water is environmentally safe.  The lab test is part of the city's efforts to address concerns about whether waste water from the mobile washes meets state environmental standards.  Results are expected in about three weeks.

"What we're trying to do is cooperate with the city to show that we have an environmentally safe process," said Greg Dumond, owner of Polish Masters of America.  "With this test we will be able to show a comparison with International Car Wash Association statistics that show we own environmentally responsible businesses."

Dumond says association figures show an average of .045 parts per million of petroleum distillates, silicon and soap in waste water from car washes, within state environmental standards.

"What the City Council wants is a water quality test in order to determine what kind of water is getting into our storm drains," said Don Nelson, director of utilities for Thousand Oaks.

"We'll send the water samples to two laboratories and forward the results to the (Los Angeles) Regional (Water) Quality (Control) Board," he said.

Concerns about waste water from the mobile operators were raised by owners of fixed car wash who claim mobile businesses compete unfairly by violating zoning ordinances and possibly laws regulating waste water.

Mobile car washers say that they are running legitimate businesses and are being targeted by owners of fixed car washes who don't like the competition.

The city, fixed and mobile car washes and the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce are studying the concerns to determine how the city might best regulate the mobile businesses.  The city agreed to spend up to $1,000 for the water tests.

On Wednesday, Lance Winslow of The Car Wash Guys, and Ron Klug of Sunshine Polishing and Detailing washed two cars with a plastic tarp underneath to trap water.  One car was washed with no soap and the other with soap.

Nelson said the samples will be sent to PatChem in Simi Valley and James M. Montgomery Environmental laboratories in Los Angeles.

Reprinted from Daily News, February 18, 1993.

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