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Auto Fluids


Most households in Northern Virginia have a vehicle. If not properly handled, the fluids in a car or truck have the potential to seriously contaminate waterbodies. Antifreeze, motor oils, gas, lubricants, grease, wash water, and other fluids all have the potential to drip, spill, or be washed into the storm drain system. Motor oil is exposed to heat and oxygen during engine combustion, which changes its chemical makeup into a concentrated cocktail of toxic compounds. Auto fluids like oil do not dissolve in water and can float on the surface where it is toxic to plants and animals living in the water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1 gallon of used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water. If used motor oil reaches sewage treatment plants, even small amounts -- 50 to 100 parts per million -- can impact the water treatment process. That is why it is essential that motor oil is never poured down the storm drain and always taken to a household hazardous waste collection facility where it can be recycled.


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