May is Car Wash Awareness Month, a campaign presented by the Puget Sound Car Wash Association in partnership with Puget Sound Starts Here.

With over 3 million cars in King, Pierce, Thurston, and Snohomish Counties, it’s widely recognized that cars contribute significant pollution to the Puget Sound. Three million cars contribute an estimated 9,194 gallons of gasoline, diesel, and motor oil, 19,355 pounds of phosphorous and nitrogen, 2,903 pounds of ammonia, and 1,451,613 pounds of solid waste into the counties’ waterways annually.

The Puget Sound Car Wash Association is a leader in the effort to protect streams, lakes, and the Puget Sound from pollution caused by washing cars and trucks. The association offers nonprofit organizations a car wash ticket program as an alternative to parking lot car washes. The association has been awarded King County’s Earth Hero Award as an industry leader for innovative and effective environmental programs, and has received the Community Service Leadership Award from the International Car Wash Association.

This month beloved King County mascot, Bert the Salmon, makes another appearance to help protect the Puget Sound. Bert explains that when you wash your car in your driveway, or when it rains, brake dust, oil, and heavy metals run off the car and into streams. Instead, Bert says, take your car to a car wash, where the water is filtered before it can go into the Puget Sound.