Virginia County Bans Carwashes on School Property

Doing car washes is an easy way to raise a little money. Pick a Saturday, get a group of volunteers together, and set up in a parking lot right outside some food establishment (as long as the owner’s OK with it). Wash people’s cars at no charge (with the drivers’ consent) and most of the time, people will throw in a couple dollars in tips. By the end of the day, you might end up with a few hundred dollars. And then you use the money toward whatever project you were saving up for.

Several places have banned these practices, and Arlington County, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Services is the latest to restrict people from doing charity car washes on school property:

According to the county’s Department of Environmental Services [DES], APS [Arlington Public Schools] was issued its first stormwater permit by the state last month, after more stringent stormwater regulations were passed by the Virginia General Assembly in July 2013. The permit disallows all charity car washes on school property.

Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield High Schools notified their teams and clubs this week that they were no longer allowed to conduct such fundraisers.

“There is an important underlying reason why most types of car washing are not allowed under state and federal stormwater regulations,” said DES spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. ”The chlorinated water, detergents, petroleum products, and other pollutants that get washed into the storm drain system are carried into our local streams, the Potomac River and ultimately, to the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, there are educational and environmental benefits that come with finding new and environmentally friendly ways to raise money for extracurricular activities.”

They’ve done the same thing in California, claiming environmental concerns. They barred students from trying to raise money using car washes but suggested that if students insisted on doing carwashes, that they invest in waterless car wash equipment, which would run them about $700. I suppose if they wanted to raise money for that waterless carwash system, they could set up a lemonade stand. It would just take a long time to raise that much money. Actually, never mind. They’d have to purchase a business permit first to set up a lemonade stand, and who knows how much that would cost and how long it would take for them to get it. Besides, even if they did get the permit (after raising the money to buy it), the health department would probably find that the stand was set up in “unsanitary” conditions and have it shut down. And we wonder why kids turn to selling drugs for money.