Spring is in the air, crap is in the river
Every year when the weather finally warms up here in Calgary I see hosts of citizens taking part in the time-honoured tradition of washing their car in the driveway. Then I shake my head because every one of these people is breaking the law.
I would like to believe with so many people moving here from other parts of Canada and the world, maybe you just don’t know what the local bylaws are. Calgary has a drainage bylaw that states nothing but water should ever go down our storm drains. Not soap, oil, old paint, toddler diapers or a half-finished beer.
THERE IS A REALLY GOOD REASON FOR THIS BYLAW.
No, the folks at city hall are not a bunch of driveway party-poopers, no one’s trying to sell you out and force you to pay high car wash prices. The reason this bylaw is in place is this: everything that goes into a storm drain in Calgary flows directly into the river UNTREATED. It does not go to the treatment plant, it does not pass go and they do NOT clean that crap out of the water.
So, if the thought of all the poor unsuspecting wildlife in and along the river being poisoned by your waste doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, think about this; the rivers flows into the two water treatment plants in Calgary, you know, the ones we get our drinking water from. Now of course the water is treated. They do a great job of it. What I always wonder is, how do they get the heavy metals, toxins, detergents, petroleum products etc. out of the water? It needs to be processed and re-processed, more chemicals added and more energy burned to make sure you don’t drink any of that antifreeze you rinsed off your car/driveway.
I know I’m a bit preachy about this. But really people, is it so hard to go to a car wash? They pay special taxes to make sure their water is treated before it goes anywhere that it might touch a living thing. It’s not about what is convenient for you. Here is an easy to read brochure if you’re still bamboozled by my highly technical talky-talk.
Oh, but if you are still thinking about what is convenient for you, being caught in violation of this bylaw could see you being fined anywhere from $75 – $10,000. I’ll tell you what is convenient; paying fines to the City, SO convenient.