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Groups still have a chance to clean up with car wash fundraisers

MARIETTA — While many ice cream socials may be on hold due to coronavirus this summer, the heat also offers local sports teams, scouts and other groups the opportunity to raise funds with a little elbow grease.

“It’s that time of year when the groups are starting to look at holding a car wash fundraiser,” said Kathy Davis, of the Washington Soil and Water Conservation District.

Davis explained that the district office aids both Marietta and Belpre in compliance with storm water regulations through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and prevents the chemical runoff and untreated water from draining into local water tables, streams and rivers.

Local storm drains in Marietta are not routed for treatment by the city wastewater plant, but instead flow, untreated, into the Ohio River, Muskingum River, Duck Creek, Goose Run and other smaller headwater streams.

“(We) would like to remind those that are washing vehicles as a commercial venture that the wash water must go to municipal waste for treatment,” noted Davis. “Fundraisers such as charity car washes are still considered a commercial venture.”

But to allow for those charity car washes to still continue, local businesses already built to follow the Ohio EPA’s regulations offer their locations in both cities for use by sports teams and the like.

“We dedicate one bay in each location to them and will string a hose out there for them,” explained Frank Lang, owner of Touchless Shine Car Wash with locations on Gilman Avenue and Muskingum Drive in Marietta. “I don’t remember how many groups we had last year, but (when) they set up at both locations, I encourage that, especially if you have enough kids you can keep them all working.”

Putting in that work includes the preparation beforehand, noted Davis.

“Groups are expected to bring their own soap, buckets and cleaning utensils. Each owner will work with you on how to access the water,” explained Davis. “The best thing is that all the water will go to municipal waste — down the drain in the bay — where it is supposed to go.”

She also noted an added bonus: volunteers for the charity events get a little shade in the bays.

“They usually start around 9 a.m. and go to 3 p.m. We toyed with the idea of having them use the pressure, too, but people seem to prefer to tip more if a kid has put in that elbow grease and washed by hand,” said Lang.

For residents looking to hose down and buff out their own vehicles at home, she added, guidelines still ask that one discharge into a grassy area to promote infiltration and to reduce waste by turning off the hose when not in use.

Car owners are also asked to use phosphate-free and other environmentally friendly cleaners.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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At a Glance

* Charity car washes are considered by Ohio law to be a commercial venture governed by discharge restrictions of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

* Car wash fundraisers may be held at a local participating commercial location:

* Main Street Car Wash, 309 Main St., Belpre

* Farson Street Car Wash, 711 Farson St., Belpre

* Touchless Shine Car Wash, 1105 Gilman Ave. and 304 Muskingum Drive, Marietta

* All-American Car Wash, corner of County House Lane and Pike Street, Marietta

* Soft Cloth Car Wash, 348 Pike St., Marietta

* Contacts in order for the commercial car washes include: Bob Rausch (Belpre locations), 740-525-7736; Frank Lang, 740-516-1019; and AJ Watson, 740-236-0304

Source: Washington Soil and Water Conservation District

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