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Fix Car Leaks and Protect the Environment at SSCC Workshops

An oil leak is not only bad for your car and your wallet–it’s bad for our local environment. Free workshops on car care are now available through Seattle Public Utilities and the Department of Ecology.

Fix Car Leaks and Protect the Environment at SSCC Workshops

If you’re tired of being a drip–or don’t want to become one–attend a free, hands-on, one-morning workshop at South Seattle Community College to jump start your car care knowledge. Bring your car in to learn how to find and fix its leaks, step-by-step. 

The monthly workshops are organized by Seattle Public Utilities in partnership with the Department of Ecology and the college. The workshops are held monthly through June. The next one is Saturday, Feb. 11, followed by March 10, April 14, May 12 and June 9. All workshops run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At the workshops, you’ll also learn about proper spill cleanup for when leaks do occur so you can avoid doing harm to our state’s waterways.

You may think that industrial and factory wastes are mostly to blame for water pollution in the Puget Sound region, and that your small engine leak won’t matter much. However, Ecology has found that most water pollution comes from things we can all individually change--like cars leaking oil, failing septic tanks and pesticides from our lawns and gardens. In a nutshell, many small sources of pollution add up to a big problem.

Every year, nearly 6,100 tons of oil leak from our vehicles onto our local streets and highways, parking lots and driveways. This toxic chemical often gets picked up by surface water runoff and carried, mostly untreated, into our storm drains, streams and other water bodies, including Puget Sound.

A single quart of motor oil can pollute 100,000 gallons of water and quickly spread out to cover an acre on the water’s surface. As an environmental toxin, oil directly harms our fish and wildlife and the places where they live, eat and breed. Even if you cannot attend a workshop, there are steps you can take to avoid being a drip in addition to checking for and fixing oil leaks promptly.

•Change your motor oil on a regular basis and keep your car tuned to reduce oil use. This, in turn, also helps save money due to fewer repairs and better gas mileage.

•Use ground cloths or drip pans beneath your vehicle if you have leaks or are doing engine work. Clean up spills immediately. Collect all used oil in containers with tight fitting lids. Avoid mixing different engine fluids. Take your oil to your county’s household hazardous waste collection site. (see  http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/mrw/mrw_contacts.html for details and web links)

•Never dispose of oil or other engine fluids down the storm drain, on the ground or into a ditch. It’s illegal to purposely spill oil and no one wants to pay an avoidable fine.

•Recycle used motor oil. Many auto supply stores and gas stations will accept used oil.

•Buy recycled (re-refined) motor oil to use in your car. To find out more about where you can take used oil for recycling, call the Department of Ecology's 1-800-RECYCLE line.

To learn more about the workshops, click on this one-minute video: http://www.youtube.com/ecologywa#p/a/u/0/DzmjPxojd0s

To register, email  idris.beauregard@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-3056.

To learn more about how your car can affect Washington waters, see:

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/washington_waters/cars.html

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