MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Car washing fundraisers have been banned by the surrounding communities to prevent pollution, but Pendleton water officials have developed a way to preserve the common fundraiser and protect the environment.
Six new fundraising wash stations spearheaded by Camp Pendleton’s Storm Water Branch now prevent chemicals from entering local waterways by redirecting runoff for treatment.
“Many people don’t realize that the storm drain system is not connected to the sanitary sewer system, and is only designed to transport rain water back to waterways to prevent flooding” said Kevin Goodell, storm water specialist, Camp Pendleton. “The new fundraising wash stations redirect the wash water; which contains detergents, oil and grease, and other pollutants; to the sewage treatment plant for treatment.”
As of 15 August 2009, car wash fundraising activities on base will only be permitted within the washing barrier at these designated stations in an effort to prevent pollution.
“The Fundraiser Vehicle Wash Stations at Camp Pendleton represent the first project of its kind in the Marine Corps,” said Goodell.
The vehicle wash stations were constructed within close proximity to locations currently used for fundraisers and took nearly six months to complete.
“The prime objective of these fundraising car wash stations is to support servicemember morale while remaining in compliance with local and federal water regulations,” said Gabrielle M. Skipper, Branch Head, Storm Water Branch, MCB.
“Just imagine all the soap, rusty metals and leaking engine fluids that get washed off of every vehicle into nearby streams.
That is what we are trying to prevent,” she added.
Many car-washing detergents contain phosphates which can promote algae overgrowth if released to waterways, said Goodell. This overgrowth can deplete oxygen from the water, harming local wildlife.
Units desiring to conduct these fundraisers will be required to contact their local Camp Services representative for proper operating procedures and the key to each facility.
Those utilizing the stations are also responsible for supplying proper hoses and environmentally safe cleaning supplies.
For additional information regarding Camp Pendleton’s Fundraiser Vehicle Wash Stations contact the Storm Water Branch at (760) 725-9670.