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After a camping trip or rain storm has muddied your vehicle, it is tempting to want to wash your cars at home. A basic car wash at the service station will cost at least $10 or more. Many people in Calgary are not aware that it is a violation of City of Calgary bylaws to wash your car at home using any kind of soap or product other than water. Biodegradable soaps are not permitted either – only clean water is allowed to enter the storm sewer system.

Drainage Bylaw 37M2005

The fine for violating this bylaw is $500 for a first offence.

CBC interview with bylaw director:

“If you’re washing your car on the street you can only use clear water. Make sure you’re not washing any oil material off your car into the storm and no soap allowed,” said Bill Bruce, director of the city’s bylaw services.

“All of our storm drain system enters into the Bow and Elbow Rivers without going through a treatment plant, so we need to make sure that the water draining into it is clean.”

Complaints can be registered with Animal & Bylaw Services, please call 311 or 403-268-2489(outside Calgary).

Please contact us if you have any questions about City Of Calgary bylaws.