Update: Public Works Director Weighs in on Car Wash Issue

Afshin Oskoui, says the city needs to do a better job of communicating and educating the public.


In an email to Belmont Patch on Wednesday, Afshin Oskoui, Belmont's director of public works explained the city ordinance regarding .

Oskoui starts out by saying that the city needs to do a better job communicating to and educating the public on the rules and requirements regarding car washing.

"First of all, washing a car in your driveway is not a prohibited activity. However, the issue referenced in is part of a broader Municipal Storm Water Permit, issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board under the San Francisco Bay Region Municipal Regional Storm Water NPDES Permit," said Oskoui.

He explained that the permit covers all of the cities that have storm water discharges into the San Francisco Bay.

"In a way of background this permit covers municipalities in San Francisco Bay that collect and discharge storm water and urban runoff containing pollutants through their storm water conveyance systems. The Regional Board issued the required NPDES permit (commonly referred to as the Municipal Storm Water Permit) to local jurisdictions including the City of Belmont, in 2009/10, which requires the implementation of programs to reduce pollutants in storm water and urban runoff."

For the most part, our Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (Storm Water Program) efforts to reduce pollutants in urban runoff and storm water has been through public education and outreach, as in this case.  When our inspector notices an issue, he works to educate and provide information in assisting the individual’s understanding of this federal/state requirement," said Oskoi.

Oskoi included a link to the Municipal Storm Water Permit (see section A, page 8), which provides for the prohibition of discharge of non-storm water into the storm drain system. Section C.15iv discusses individual car washing: http://www.flowstobay.org/documents/municipalities/municipalities/R2-2009-0074_Revised.pdf

"Again, it should be noted that individuals can still wash their own cars, but have to take measures to eliminate direct run off into the storm system by washing their vehicles on their lawn or gravel area which then acts as a means of treatment," said Oskoui.

For more information, and for car wash discounts, go to http://www.flowstobay.org/cs_carwashdiscount.php.

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 650-595-7425, or go to www.belmont.gov.

Charlie May 10, 2012 at 03:36 PM
It's certainly comforting to know that our city staff is spending their time on productive things rather than, say, the items mentioned as priority in the council meeting (which didn't include car washing). It's also comforting to know that the inspectors have no need of a thesaurus when they change "shall discourage through outreach" and "shall encourage individuals to direct" into "shall fine and jail". My final comfort comes in knowing that city staff is able to interpret codified language in the law into what it "actually" means, avoiding that whole judicial review process that we normally follow when there's an ambiguity in codified law. Nice!!
Alan May 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM
How is one to was their vehicle on their lawn when Belmont is full of hills, retaining walls, etc?? There is a huge number of Belmont residents that have no access to lawn/gravel areas to wash their vehicles. But if forgot, the economy is so good right now that we all have plenty of disposable income to go to the local carwashes.
Belmont gov needs to go May 11, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Belmont is run by a bunch of idiots - the fact that they are also considering having yet another private school that will not pay property taxes and add hundreds of more cars a day on Ralston proves Belmont is run by housewives and people who don't keep normal commute hours. Why would anyone be surprised by their stance on car washing.
Denny Lawhern May 11, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Belmont citizens need to wake up and pay attention to the restrictions over the past 10 years that the Planning Commission and City Council have enacted on your behalf . There have been a lot of infringements on individual property rights and this is one. this is taking place on all levels of government.
Denny Lawhern May 11, 2012 at 05:20 AM
Quote from Oskoui "Again, it should be noted that individuals can still wash their own cars, but have to take measures to eliminate direct run off into the storm system by washing their vehicles on their lawn or gravel area which then acts as a means of treatment," said Oskoui. Can you really park your car on your lawn and work on it or wash it? This is bad advise !!! Under section 8.2.6a of the parking code, updated in May of last year you may not park your car or pave any additional area ( Out side of the required parking in front of your garage) that is between the front of the dwelling and the front of property line. also if you have a gravel area this can not be used for parking. Parking on your lawn and unpaved area has this has been enforced in the past with threat of fine.


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