Car Wash Certification Program

For complete information about Spotsylvania County’s Water Conservation Policy, please view:  Water Conservation Initiative.

Voluntary Car Wash Certification Program

The Carwash Certification Program (CCP) is adopted as a part of the Green Initiative and Water Conservation Program for the carwash facilities located in Spotsylvania County. The intent of the CCP is to establish general operating standards for the various kinds of carwashes; which will encourage water conservation and the efficient and responsible use of water in all aspects of the industry. 

Carwash facilities in Spotsylvania County may apply to participate in the certification program. The CCP shall be administered by the Spotsylvania County Department of Utilities/Public Works (Department). The Application Form shall identify each Carwash facility seeking designation, shall state its average daily water usage, the type of water reclaim equipment in use, and how reclaim water is used in the wash process. The applicant shall certify compliance with the criteria applicable to the particular type of carwash operation. 

An applicant applying to participate in the CCP is subject to inspection by the department, or its representative, to determine that the facility meets all appropriate criteria. Inspections shall be conducted at reasonable times, and may be conducted without notice. Inspections shall be conducted annually at minimum. If during an inspection, it is discovered that a participant’s carwash is not in compliance with the applicable criteria, the department shall: 

  1. Issue a notice to the owner of the facility specifying the criteria not in compliance and providing 14 days for the facility to repair the deficiencies, or additional time that may be appropriate under the circumstances.
  2. If the reported deficiencies are not repaired in the appropriate time period, the department shall revoke the certificate of participation of the Carwash and shall require removal of signage advertising participation in the CCP. The carwash facility will not be eligible for any conservation rate reductions or rebates.

Fees and Charges:
An applicant to the CCP shall pay to the department: 

  1. An application fee of $100; 
  2. An annual renewal fee of $100. 

Monthly Water User Rate Reduction Charges for Conservation:
Car washes in good standing that meet the criteria of the carwash certification program will be entitled to exemptions from tier 4 level water rates as currently stated in chapter 22 section 22-128 of the Spotsylvania County Code provided that the monthly use does not exceed the established monthly baseline winter quarter use by more than 15% as defined in the Conservation Program and Policy. 

Operating Standards:

General Standards
All carwashes, self-serve, in-bay automatic and conveyor shall meet the following criteria:

  • All water-using devices must be maintained to original or improved specifications for the conservation of water.  
  • All spray nozzles must be replaced annually with stainless steel or hard ceramic nozzles to ensure maximum efficiency.  
  • All water leaks must be repaired as they occur.  
  • All toilets utilized at the facility must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush.  
  • All hoses or faucets that are in use must be attended or shut off. 
  • All driveways or impervious surfaces should be cleaned by sweeping for purposes other than health and safety.
  • Driveways may be washed with high pressure, low volume systems for health and safety purposes only. 
  • All spot-free reverse osmosis concentrate (if such system is in place) must be reused in the wash water holding tank.  
  • Oil-water separators must be in proper working order.  
  • Remain in good standing with County Wastewater Compliance.  
  • Submit yearly pumping receipts showing quarterly manifest of sump serviced by licensed waste hauler.  
  • Each employee shall be given written and oral information and training when hired to ensure a better understanding of sound water conservation practices as it relates to applicable employment responsibilities.

Additional Self-Service Carwash Criteria

  • All chamois wringer sinks must have positive shut-off valves.  
  • All high-pressure wash nozzles and pump systems shall be calibrated to flows no greater than 3 gallons per minute. This may be achieved by replacing existing nozzles with a reduced size nozzle and adjusting the pressure generated by the pumps as needed.  
  • To alleviate misunderstandings for waste disposal, mandatory signs prohibiting the dumping of vehicle/household fluids must be posted in an effort to lessen these types of practices.  
  • All wash wands must incorporate nozzle protectors at all times.  

Additional In-Bay Automatic Carwash Criteria

  • A chamois wringer sink shall be equipped with positive shut-off valves; 
  • Where feasible, a 5 second dwell time shall be created before the customer’s vehicle exits the bay to enable water to run off the vehicle into the bay collection pit; 
  • Reclaim Water Requirement: a minimum of 20% of the water used in the wash process shall be reclaimed water. 
  • Direction of spray and timing shall be properly set and shut off when no longer in contact with a vehicle. 
  • Basic wash package shall use no more than 40 gallons.  
  • Premium wash package shall use no more than 75 gallons

Additional Conveyor Carwash Criteria

  • Automatic high-level shut-off valves shall be installed in all towel and chamois washing machines;
  • Reclaim Water Requirement: a minimum of 50% of the water used in the wash process shall be reclaimed water.

Signage and Advertising:

  1. A certified carwash may display signage, approved by the Department, advertising that the Carwash is certified as participating in the CCP.
  2. A certified carwash may be identified on a list published by the Department advertising that the carwash is certified in the CCP.
  3. A certified carwash may use a logo or phrase, approved by the Department, in advertising, mailings, and other promotional material indicating that the carwash is certified as participating in the CCP.
  4. The Department will work with the CCP certified carwash to develop promotional programs such as a carwash coupon incentive program, charity car wash events and other promotional programs to promote the use of the facility. 

Emergency Water Conservation Measures Condition 1:
During a Water Emergency declared by the County Administrator in accordance with Sec.22-205 of the County Code, the certified carwash will: 1. Use only reclaimed water to irrigate landscaping;2. Clean all driveways and impervious areas by sweeping instead of washing;3. Adjust each high-pressure pump to a maximum of 1,000 psi.

Emergency Water Conservation Measures Condition 2:
During a Water Emergency declared by the County Administrator in accordance with Sec.22-205 of the County Code, all certified licensed carwash facilities, except self-service carwashes, shall use a minimum of 40% reclaimed water in the wash process. 

Emergency Water Conservation Measures Condition 3:
During a Water Emergency declared by the County Administrator in accordance with Sec.22-205 of the County Code, all certified licensed carwashes shall reduce water consumption by the percentage required of other commercial water users.  


Water Car Wash Sign
Water Car Wash Tunnel
Water Car Wash Bay

For more information, contact Customer Service:
540-507-7300, Press Option 1.