Vehicle washes use a fair amount of water. Some friction in-bay automatic systems use approximately 35 gallons per vehicle, and a high-volume in-bay site could average 100 cars a day — that’s 3,500 gallons a day, 105,000 gallons per month, or 1.26 million gallons per year. Other in-bay automatics, employing the high-pressure touchless method, use 70 gallons per vehicle. At the same 100-cars-per-day average, that’s 7,000 gallons a day, 210,000 a month, or 2.52 million gallons of water a year.
A tunnel car wash with a moderate amount of high-pressure applications could use 120 gallons of water per vehicle. Assuming an average of 400 cars washed, daily usage would total 48,000 gallons. This site is therefore using 1.44 million gallons of water a month or more than 17 million gallons a year. If you own this wash and your sewer and water cost are low, say $4 per 1,000 gallons, your annual water and sewer cost is nearly $70,000. There are water reclamation systems to help limit that cost. With a $25,000 system and $10,000 worth of underground plumbing, you could easily save 75 percent of your water and sewer cost. It would take just over eight months for the system to pay for itself. I don’t know much else legal and/or moral that would provide a better return on your investment.
So the question is, are you still washing your car? And why?