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Lahainaluna students to test out ‘ocean-friendly’ car wash method in benefit for Student Council

By Staff | Nov 15, 2018

Lahainaluna High School students help test out the ocean-friendly car wash. PHOTO BY LIZ FOOTE, WEST MAUI KUMUWAI.

LAHAINA – For the first time ever in Hawaii, an “ocean-friendly” charity car wash will be held to test out a method developed on the continental U.S. to protect sensitive waterways.

The West Maui Kumuwai campaign, a movement for ocean health, is teaming up with students from Lahainaluna High School and with Old Lahaina Luau to offer free car washing at the luau’s parking lot on Saturday Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Optional donations can be made at the event to benefit the LHS Student Council.

Fundraiser car washes are held frequently on Maui, where stormwater rules and regulations are much less stringent than on the continental U.S. – or even than on Oahu.

There are a number of pollutants associated with vehicles, including gasoline, oils and heavy metals, that can be washed off into storm drains and then carried to the ocean, where they can degrade water quality and affect the health of the nearshore marine environment.

In areas of the U.S. such as the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay, local municipalities have worked with regional organizations to devise a more environmentally sustainable model for charity car-washes.

This approach consists of using a simple pump system to suck up the wash water and redirect it to a vegetated area, where it will benefit from natural filtration before replenishing groundwater, or to a sink or toilet, which ensures it will be transmitted to a treatment plant instead of a storm drain.

In addition to the redirection of the water away from drains, other ocean-friendly methods include using a nozzle to reduce waste, and using a nontoxic and biodegradable cleanser.

To support this ocean-friendly effort, join West Maui Kumuwai and a team of Lahainaluna High School student volunteers on Saturday, Nov. 17, at Old Lahaina Luau’s parking lot at 1251 Front St. in between 9 a.m. and noon.

In addition to the free car wash, participants will receive a sample of nontoxic biodegradable car wash soap that they can use to wash their own cars at home (while supplies last).

This event is being sponsored by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources.

For more information, e-mail WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com or call (808) 283-1631.