Powerwashing Sidewalks and Driveways

Why is it bad for water quality?

Powerwashing flushes all of the pollutants that are on the streets, sidewalks and driveways into the nearest storm drain. These pollutants typically include oil and other automobile fluids, metals from air pollution that have settled, pet waste, lawn waste, bacteria, sediments and trash.

What can we do to reduce or prevent storm water pollution?

Use a broom and dust pan to collect debris and dispose of in the trash can.
Use the age-old method of a mop and bucket to wash your sidewalks and driveways.
If you insist on cleaning your sidewalks and driveways with water, companies are available that can recover the wash water before it enters the storm drains. The Yellow Pages has powerwashing companies listed; just make sure they have recovery equipment so nobody gets a cited from a Code Enforcement Officer.
Make sure to clean up spills with a rag, kitty litter or other absorbents, rather than flush the spill down the street.

The Clean Water Program has a Powerwashing Guidelines brochure  (801 KB) to assist you in preventing water pollution while cleaning hard surfaces at your home.

What do the laws say about powerwashing?

It is illegal to powerwash your sidewalks and driveways if the water enters a storm drain.

Report any water running in the street when it is not raining or someone dumping something in the storm drain or curb and gutter by calling the
Urban Runoff Hotline at 760-435-4500.