In the United States, the 1972 Clean Water Act protects the quality of drinking water. This was the first nationwide law to regulate how much pollution industries could release into American rivers and streams. Basically, the Clean Water Act sets a high standard; it says that nothing but clean rainwater should go into sewers and storm drains.

Canada’s clean water legislation is more piecemeal; the federal government oversees waterways that cross international borders as well as fisheries and navigation channels. It also provides scientific resources for the provinces, which play a large part in water regulations. For instance, the Ontario Clean Water Act requires local Ontario communities to assess and eliminate threats to nearby water supplies.

In both Canada and the United States, there is often a wide gap between the spirit of water legislation and actual results. In the U.S., the EPA can’t possibly fine every single infraction of the Clean Water Act – it might notice large-scale operations, but smaller outfits, such as a local pressure washing service, are unlikely to see any consequences for polluting. Canada’s system empowers local communities to act on water issues – again, a smaller pressure washing outfit is unlikely to trip the radar of any regulating body. For these reasons, it’s important for pressure washing customers to make environmentally friendly choices that help protect our waterways. Ultimately, the consumer has the power to decide whether he or she wants to play a part in a polluting pressure washing operation. If the majority of consumers demanded green pressure washing solutions, North American streams and lakes would be far cleaner overall. If you’re looking for a residential or commercial Calgary pressure washing outfit, read on to educate yourself on how to choose one that will protect the planet.


At this point you may be asking yourself, “Well, what’s the huge problem with pressure washing? Isn’t it just flushing dirt off of boats, homes, cars, equipment and so forth? What’s so wrong with that?” The answer is less than obvious: In addition to dirt and grime, pressure washing lifts and washes away toxins such as grease, oil and antifreeze. These polluting substances may be on the item being washed, but more often they linger on the asphalt where a pressure washing service operates.

Pesticides, heavy metals, fertilizers, bacteria and other automobile fluids may then be flushed down storm sewers and into rivers. Each of these pollutants has a unique, deadly impact on nearby ecosystems. For instance, it takes only one quart of motor oil to contaminate 250,000 gallons of fresh water to one part per million. Cadmium is a heavy metal cars shed as they drive; it is deadly to both soil microorganisms and humans. These are only a few of the hundreds of dangerous compounds that are commonly found on parking lots, roadways and vehicles themselves. During a pressure washing service, these noxious chemicals can wash straight into storm drains, and from there into nearby water systems, where they threaten both wildlife and human drinking supplies.


So if you’re looking for a residential or commercial pressure washing service, how can you be sure to choose one that won’t pollute nearby watersheds? The following list of characteristics can help you find a Vancouver or Calgary pressure washing company that has a truly green approach.

Membership in the PWNA. The Power Washers of North America association (PWNA) is a group of pressure washing services that are dedicated to ethical business practices and environmental awareness. Within this group, some pressure washing companies have earned certification as Environmental Contract Cleaners. PWNA membership and Environmental Contract Cleaner certification are excellent indications that a pressure washing company is dedicated to protecting nearby streams and rivers.

Proper wastewater capture and disposal methods. To prevent hazardous materials from washing down storm drains, pressure washing companies should have drain plugs. A green pressure washing service must also have a vacuum-like machine for sucking up wastewater. Finally, this wastewater must be properly stored and then delivered to an appropriate disposal facility.

Earth-friendly cleaning products. Earth-friendly pressure washing companies use cleaning agents that are phosphate free and entirely biodegradable.

Technician training. It’s not enough for management to spew eco-friendly policies. In order for a pressure washing operation to be green on every level, pressure washing technicians must also receive environmental education so that they understand how to implement earth-friendly tactics on the job. Since consumers decide what kind of pressure washing service to pay for, they also have ultimate power over pressure washing operations. Vote with your wallet by choosing a company that’s dedicated to earth-friendly operations.