Characterization of wastewaters from vehicle washing companies and environmental impacts

  • Luciene Gonçalves Rosa Universidade Federal de Campina Grande
  • José Tavares Sousa Universidade Estadual da Paraíba
  • Vera Lúcia Antunes de Lima Universidade Federal de Campina Grande
  • Gilmara Henriques Araujo Universidade Estadual da Paraíba
  • Luciana Maria Andrade da Silva Universidade Estadual da Paraíba
  • Valderi Duarte Leite Universidade Estadual da Paraíba
Keywords: Process for washing vehicles, environmental licensing, pollutant load


The car wash business has developed rapidly in recent years due to the increased number of cars, thus, it can cause serious environmental problems considering its potential source of pollution. The aim of this study was to characterize the wastewater from car washing companies in the city of Campina Grande, in Paraiba state, and to analyze the environmental impacts generated. A survey was conducted from November 2009 to July 2010. The first step we present a survey of car wash businesses in the city, and identified 20 licensed companies in which we evaluated the number of vehicles washed per week, the existence of a system of pre-treatment of wastewater generated and infrastructure that would allow the realization of the collection of samples of the effluent, the second step was carried out chemical and physical characterization of wastewater from five 20 companies surveyed in the previous step, and third stage were measured pollution loads of wastewater from washing of vehicles in the city, from the results obtained in previous steps. The characterization parameters were analyzed: oil and grease, COD, heavy metals, TS, TSS, turbidity, TKN, total P, pH and color. The results demonstrated that the wastewater from the car wash establishments shows high concentrations of organic matter, oils and grease, heavy metals and solids, and as such did not conform with the specific environmental legislation. Evaluation of pollutant loads demonstrated that if releases without proper treatment, it can cause serious environmental problems. It is therefore essential that these establishments are properly monitored.

Author Biography

Luciene Gonçalves Rosa, Universidade Federal de Campina Grande
Bióloga pela Universidade Estadual da Paraíba; Mestre em Desenvolvimento e Meio Ambiente pelo PRODEMA/UFPB/UEPB. Doutoranda Recursos Naturais pela Universidade Federal de Campina Grande-PB.