Express Car Wash Ignores Water Ban

The owner of the Express Car Wash is refusing to obey the city’s ban on the operation of car washes during the drought. Henry Wineschenk has not been quiet about his qualms with the targeting of car washes, having been a vocal opponent since the idea was first suggested. Wineschenk says that half of their customers are getting a chemical dry-wash to save water use, and they intend to close down on Sunday. Wineschenk said at Monday’s City Council meeting that the car washes in the city and county use roughly 1/3% of all consumed water, or something on the order of 300,000 gallons each week. He points out that he employs 40 people of the 150 people that work for area car washes, and that layoffs would be disastrous. The city intends to issue a warning to Express Car Wash for operating today, and will issue a fine $250 if they’re open Saturday. If they’re open Monday, WINA reports that they’ll be charged with a misdemeanor, though the Progress indicates that there’s a $500 fine prior to the charge of misdemeanor. Presumably, as more businesses are limited or temporarily barred, more of them will flout the growing restrictions.

68 thoughts on “Express Car Wash Ignores Water Ban”

  1. Outside the question of whether or not the city can close down the business, who chooses to wash their cars during a time like this? There are people taking less showers, letting their gardens die, not flushing their toilets – but some of us can’t have a dirty car?

    Is it against the law to makes someone’s car dirty again after they have just cleaned it?

  2. Is it against the law to makes someone’s car dirty again after they have just cleaned it?

    Only if you get caught ;)

    Actually, you’d have to check with the authorities as always, but I have a feeling there is a monetary value attached to vandalism. I.E. if it only costs $5 to get the car washed again, you’re under the limit and the police wont bother arresting you. Now if you keyed the car, thats an expensive paintjob, and you are putting yourself squarely under the wheels of justice :)

    A SINGLE toilet that is running constantly will waste more water than any carwash ever could. I seem to remember something about filling an olympic swimming pool every month.

    Perhaps you shouldnt waste your time making people’s cars dirty (they’ll just go waste more water washing it) and spend more time looking at your water bills and considering if you really need a 50 gallon shower every day.

  3. I think people should boycott Wineschenk’s business for his flagrant disregard of the severe water crisis. It sounds like he thinks he is above the law. Everyone else has to make sacrifices, why not him?

  4. if you’re willing to spend time making a difference, i would think standing out front of the wash with a sign would do a fine job of it.

    I think many people forget, or just aren’t thinking about the water restrictions, and a reminder would suffice. I doubt many folks getting their cars washed are thinking "I CANT HAVE A DIRTY CAR!"

    unlike abortion protests, even some of the customers might appreciate your effort.

  5. Evidently you’ve missed his entire point. Sure, we’re all having to make sacrifices, but they’re all relatively small: taking fewer and/or shorter showers, watering plants and gardens less frequently or not at all, flushing the toilet less, etc. However, those pale in comparison to the city forcing Wineschenk to close his business. He’ll undoubtedly lose an extremely substantial amount of money as a result, so he’s really getting the raw end of the deal, here. Wouldn’t you be as upset as he is if all of a sudden the city said, "Sorry, but you’re not allowed to go to work anymore, so you won’t get paid. Tough luck, holmes. Oh, and we don’t know when we’ll let you go back, but it’ll probably be a few months at least." You would waste no time raising a ruckus, I suspect.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the car washes should be closed, as they’re non-essential and do indeed use a lot of water. But at the very least the city should offer his business some sort of financial compensation. It really is a dick thing to do to someone, after all. Now perhaps they are compensating him and I just missed it, but given his response I don’t think that’s the case. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  6. Perhaps I did miss his point… then again maybe I didn’t because I don’t think it is an exceptional one. Since car washes consume a lot of precious water supply, it would be natural to want to shut down those types of businesses. No one is stopping him (and correct ME if I’m wrong) of offering the "chemical dry-washes" to keep his business operating and to tide him over until he can resume the regular "water washes." There are creative alternatives for him. But my question is why should the rest of the community shoulder the burden of the water restrictions and not him? It almost doesn’t matter if the city’s new water restictions/laws are right or wrong–IT IS THE LAW. There are more appropriate, constructive ways of telling the city that you don’t like the law without breaking it and burning your bridges. I am sympathetic to a business that provides a valuable service and is suffering from a hardship beyond their control, such as a farmer who loses crops to the drought. However, I don’t think Express Car Wash has to right to think he/she is above the law. I think it is a pretty crappy thing for them to do (to "defy" the water restrictions) and is a poor gesture of goodwill towards the community.

  7. To play my own devil’s advocate, the city and Wineschenk have been at odds anyway b/c of his support for the Route 29 Bypass, and council’s not so enthusiastic support of it, so maybe this is their way of getting a thorn out of its side (ie. water restrictions on Express Car Wash could put him out of business). That’s pure, unadulterated speculation…

  8. It’s amazing how many people continue to wash their cars one way or another during our crisis. If it’s not at home (and you can tell by whose car is nice and clean on Monday morning) or someone you’ve seen pulling out of a working car wash while they were still open, then look at the nearby pump next time you are filling up at a gas station. Chances are one or two of the cars near you are not just using the windshield fluid to clean the windows but they will keep going and do as much of the car as they can reach! Do these people not realize that this is still ‘washing your car’ and that water has to come from somewhere? The more you waste washing at the pump the more gets refilled from inside that business. I looked around yesterday and saw the outline of 3 cars washed this way, as if doing it with a squegee makes it ok. That was just one 10-15 minute stretch! I’m always amazed how people can rationalize almost anything for their car.

  9. that doesn’t hold much water (excuse please). there’s no way that place is anywhere near going out of business and a few fines and a handful of days off aren’t going to kill them.

    We’re talking about a business that is, for all practical purposes, closed when it rains. They’ll bounce back.

  10. Perhaps we should close Starbucks and the local soft drink bottling plants. They both sell a product which is 99.9% water.


  11. I am a customer of Express during non-drought times. I had planned to go out there to gas up and get any kind of non-water-use service they had available, just to help them out during this time, and I’d been encouraging others to do the same. I won’t do that now. Nor will I ever take my car there to be washed again.

  12. Funny thing is that I’ve seen cars coming out of the Express Car Wash on rainy days. Not just during a drizzle either. Why? It is probably these same people washing their cars now. When people wash their car on rainy days, do they still get the 3 day rainy day guarantee? And he could still have customers using the chemical waterless wash and get their cars vacumned. Personally, I’m always more worried about the inside of my car than some dirt on the outside.

    But, yes, car washes should close. He may be correct in his stats of how much water they actually use, but that could still be water I need to drink, bathe or cook with.

  13. Good for you. Take action against businesses like this. But to be more effective, I’d encourage you (if you haven’t already) to call Express and tell them this. A boycott (or the witholding of your business) is only effective if the company in question is shown a direct connection between their selfishness and their bottom line.

  14. I’m having a tough time deciding where I fall on this issue. On the one hand, here’s a business owner who really seems to have made a substantial effort to reduce his business’s water consumption (buying equipment to increase the amount of water his car wash recycles from 50% to 80%; offering chemical dry washes), and he’s forced to close down just the same as if he hadn’t made any such efforts. He truly believes that the City’s law is unfair and is standing up for that belief.

    On the other hand, flouting the law will do nothing to improve Express’s relations with the city or the community. For every customer who gets a car wash, I imagine he’s pissed off at least two others who won’t go there anymore (to wit the post above). And what about all those police cruisers I always used to see getting washed there? Bet he won’t be getting that business back.

    The real problem is that there are still customers who think that water-based car washing is an OK thing to be doing right now. Does anybody know why more people aren’t opting for the dry washes? Are they more expensive? Less effective? Or does the word "chemical" freak people out?

  15. We are so focused on the here and now, on minor inconveniences like car wash closures, that nobody seems to be looking ahead. Nobody is facing the hard reality:

    The Fall here is usually dry. Assuming normal rainfall plus conservation, the math says our faucets will run down to a trickle sometime in January.

    Then what?

    How long would you live without toilets that flush? No showers? Wash no dishes? How long can the U. Va. Power plant function without water? Or the U. Va. Hospital? Or U. Va.? What will happen to the restaurants? The real estate market?

    Our local economy can do without oil for a while, even electricity. But not water.

    We must radically change water use habits. We must start conserving now, as if we were living in a desert. Or people are going to have to leave Charlottesville.

  16. Business is all about taking risks–at least what that’s what I hear from all the pro-capitalism forces whenever people complain about overcompensation of business owners or founders–"oh, it’s fair for them to get paid what they do because they’re the ones who undertook the risk of starting the business in the first place."

    Okay, if you took a big risk in the hopes that you’d strike it rich with your business, you have to be prepared for the chance that it will go south and you’ll take a big hit. Anyone opening a business like a car wash has to understand that drought conditions are always a possibility and that’s a risk that goes with the territory.

    The idea that government/taxpayers should PAY this guy money because he chose to open a business that had this risk built into it and things turned out badly for him sounds inherently seems counter-capitalistic.

  17. Do we know for a fact that these businesses turn on a tap and draw their water from our reservoir? It’s possible that the soft drink bottling plants get their water shipped to them from the parent company, along with the soft drink syrup and everything else. Sounds far-fetched, maybe, but the major soft drink companies are so neurotic about controlling everything that might effect the flavor of their product–maybe they don’t trust the tap water in their bottling localities.

  18. There is over a gallon of water in one of those windshield fluid containers but by the time these folks were done the containers were empty. So yes that’s only 1 gallon per car but how many other cars are doing this besides the ones I saw? Agreed individually it’s a minor amount of water but it’s a ridiculous waste knowing that you have been asked by everyone from your neighbor to the Governor to please not waste even ONE drop on needless tasks like this. People need to get over their selfishness but I won’t hold my breath. I guess because they aren’t doing it in their driveway or being seen at Express Car Wash that makes it better.

  19. My solution for car washes is this.

    Allow them to continue to operate, but limit the amount of water that they’re permitted to use per day, above which point they’ll be fined per gallon the cost of getting the water trucked in plus x%. The water limit should be quite strict, such that it really allows them to simply operate as a business, but doesn’t allow water for washing cars. Express Car Wash is free to get a 6,000 gallon tanker to bring in water for them, or to use this chemical wash that they’ve been talking about. If they recycle as much water as they say that they do, the minimal amount of water that goes into this chemical wash should surely be available to them.

    Perhaps I’m not properly appreciating all facts in this situation, but this seems like the simplest solution.

  20. Local bottling plants are manufacturers and consequently exempt from the restrictions both state-wide and locally.

    Starbucks just has to put together a plan to reduce consumption by 20% like other regular businesses. So far as I know, they don’t have to actually reduce their consumption: just make a plan for it and pay the new going rate for water consumed over 600 cubic feet per month.

  21. risks yes…but to have the city decide to close them down isn’t one that is usually considered when starting a business. I get the dire straights in which we find ourselves. But I do think think that the city should compensate in some ways…for instance, unemployment benefits for people that are put out of work through no fault of their own, perhaps property tax considerations on a pro-rated basis for the time the business isn’t allowed to operate.

    Everything has a risk, but to point at that fact in this kind of a situation isn’t helpful.

    All of this is in addition to the fact that I believe car washes do an exceptionally good job at recycling water (its in their business interests to do so in any event). Restaurants don’t. Other kinds of businesses don’t. It seems patently unfair to single out a business that ionly appears to use more water.

  22. actually, this starts thinking in the right direction….but we’ve been in a drought for four years and we haven’t done anything that makes a serious dent until now. this town is in for a seriously hard go over the next unspecified period of time. most of my family lives in southern california in areas that experience low water levels all the time. changes can be made but we haven’t begun to make the right kinds of them yet. unfortunately it looks as if we’ll run dry and be forced to do them all at once.

  23. Buy it. I run them and our current debate is whether or not to stop filling up the windshield washer fluid containers. Stand there for 10-15 minutes continually dipping the squegee in and out of the bucket getting it as wet as you can. Their point is to get as much water on the squeege as possible so they can wash the car quickly. More people are doing this and emptying these buckets repeatedly. What used to need be refilled only once a day or every other day now needs to refilled 4 and 5 times a day at 3-5 of 10 pumps. Thats no accident.

  24. Some people are looking ahead, they’re investing in deep drilling rigs.

    Unfortunatly, not only are we only looking at the here and now, we’re only looking at the here, Its not just charlottesville’s overblown service stations that are affected by the restrictions. Infact the city doesnt have a leg to stand on as far as state law, its all on them to decide to ban commercial car washes.

    The state has laws as well as the city.

    "Prohibit any person or household who utilizes surface waters or ground water in localities located in the Shenandoah, James, Rappahannock, Chowan, York and Roanoke River basins from watering lawns, washing vehicles, filling swimming pools, and irrigating golf courses with the following exceptions: commercial car washes, pools used by health care facilities for patient care and rehabilitation, and watering of golf course tees and greens between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m."

    This means that Wintergreen cannot pump water out of their own lake to make snow. Makes sense right? Well not really, its much less of a waste than letting it sit in the lake instead.

    All of the water in that lake originates in the "watershed" of the mountain itself. Instead of making snow, they’ll simply let it all sit in the lake, saving it up until the restriction is lifted. No snow means no fun, and no tax money. Perhaps we should just abolish Nelson county entierly. Sorry, everybody has to move, bye. And if you think I’m an idiot and it is a waste of surface water… remember that snow doesnt evaporate. There is no solid->gas conversion going on. The water isnt going to up and blow away, it will all stay in the James River basin. JUST like it will when it sits in a lake.

    I implore anyone who is buddies with the guy who plays golf with Gov. Warner who swung the golf course watering caveat to ask him to make an exception for snowmaking. I seem to have misplaced my breifcase full of cash, so I cant really do much. Sorry… I owe ya one next time buddy.

  25. Wow, this is where we differ waldo, you are so subtle.

    I would have just said, why dont we just do what EVERY OTHER CAR WASH AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN VIRGINIA IS DOING.


    Like I said, we differ.

  26. oh wait so if I have an abortion I’m commiting murder? I didnt realize that! Thanks right wing nut! I thought my UTERIS WAS JUST DIRTY.

  27. I dont know, maybe I want those people to snap and beat me to a bloody pulp. That might make life more interesting.

  28. No one is stopping him from offering the “chemical dry-washes” to keep his business operating and to tide him over until he can resume the regular “water washes.”

    True, no person is stopping him, but from what I’ve been able to research, the practicality of shifting his entire operation to a new system that renders his entire present facility useless, increases operation costs greatly and takes a great deal of time to change to seems questionable at best.

    But my question is why should the rest of the community shoulder the burden of the water restrictions and not him?

    Were he being asked to abide by the same restrictions as other businesses, I seriously doubt he’d have much of a problem with it. That would be fair. But that’s not what’s happening: He’s being instructed to close down his business and give up all his business’s income indefinitely. He’s not even been given the opportunity to shoulder the same burden as everyone else, he’s been handed a burden many, many times heavier. So your question is moot.

    I don’t think Express Car Wash has to right to think he/she is above the law.

    Ooh, way to hit a pet peeve of mine. ; ) Just because you defy what you feel is an unjust law does NOT mean you think you’re above it. It’s called civil disobedience, and it’s an important and necessary part of American society. We wouldn’t be here without it.

  29. I was at a charity soiree at Farmington last night, and the Country Club was watering their clay tennis court around 11 pm.. They were using so much water the streets were wet.

    Something wrong with this.


  30. The Wintergeen pumping station, which supplies both snowmaking and the Wintergreen community water, draws only from Stony Creek. Stony Creek comes off the mountain below Wintergreen. Does your house use a septic system? Then you drink your own sewage.

    Wintergreen really is a recycling system in this regard. But without rain to replace water losses, Stoney Creek is getting smaller and smaller. Go see for yourself. So your choice is: snowmaking or toilet flushing?

  31. "It seems patently unfair to single out a business that ionly appears to use more water."

    1. I think they’re singling out a business whose MAIN (if not only) purpose is the nonessential use of water. In the other businesses you named, water use is largely incidental–it happens in ways that are ancillary to the main purpose of the business (e.g. serving food). For a car wash, the business itself is essentially the pouring of water down into drains for nonessential reasons. THat may be why they’re singled out.

    "But to have the city decide to close them down isn’t [a risk] that is usually considered when starting a business."

    Then they didn’t think through all the possible risks when starting their business. There’s precedent for having officials close your business in times of community crisis. It’s not like it’s unheard of. If it’s not usually considered, then it should be.

  32. It doesnt matter if you go tell the guy "hey, you just lost my business", OR if you just stop buying. It is that what is termed a moot point.

    Business owners have their own opinion about what they think "sells" they really dont like CHANGING anything that works, so if they step out of line and you feel that they dont deserve your money anymore, you can TELL THEM, and they’ll think you’re not worth the risk of shifting their policy dramatically. So it doesnt motivate business. The board has their policy, and they stick to it. Nobody ever boycotted their way to any goal. If companies dont do what you want, you have to go start your own company. Period. If they do do what you want, you dont HAVE to boycott them.

    In this case, he wont change a thing. If he DOES what you want him to do, he’ll just make zero. If he STAYS OPEN in no violation of state law, then he just has the county to deal with. Clearly he’ll make NON ZERO money if he is open. Once the restriction is gone, NOBODY WILL REMEMBER ANYTHING AT ALL, and taking the loss for the duration of the water ban is going to cost him a lot more than the fine and your neo-hippy whiney ass’s lack of business will. Boycott or no boycott, you cant change anything this time, sorry, you’re stupid. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

    That wasnt a cut-down or an insult, it was an observation of fact, you’re stupid.

  33. I have a septic system downhill of my well(spring), so YOU’RE drinking my waste. Too bad for you ;)

    Wintergreen has a DAM to make a LAKE. They arent drawing anything from the river. If you go look at the maps of the rivers around the mountain, you’ll see that that trickle on stony creek is coming from a few minor streams that meet up to make the rockfish, the lake is not feeding the river becuase it is not full, so there is NO FLOW out of it, Making snow or not making snow, they are not contributing to the river.

    In nellysford the river has reduced to a few inches of water, and guess what, my spring is still supplying *4* lakes with water, and they are all at normal levels, dumping water out to the rockfish downstream.

    You’re operating on the flawed assumption that wintergreen will GIVE YOU SOME WATER FROM THEIR LAKE. They frankly dont care if your water flushes, THEIRS will. And I can assure you that if their toilets stop flushing they will NOT make snow.

    Make sense? Its their water, they can do what they want. I dont own any land there, I just live nearby. I’m not compensated by them, I just want to ski.

  34. Restaurants are non essential though. Food can be had many ways, often less expensively. TV dinners would seem a good idea, no water necessary at all. Amazing amounts of water are used in restaurants. And this water is simply wasted, not recycled to be used again as in a car wash. my point is that i can see why an owner of a car wash would feel that such a decision is unfair in this situation.

    To say now that its a risk that should be considered is obvious. hindsight is great that way. ask however many business owners you can find if they factored this kind of thing into their business plan.

  35. Wintergreen does pump out of Stony Creek. Go look. Or call ’em up and ask.

    I don’t drink Wintergreen’s water. And I don’t ski on their water when they turn it into snow. Which recently they haven’t for lack of cold enough weather.

    Wintergreen’s problem is the changing climate and neither you nor I can fix that. You have a problem with the climate? Talk to the guy in charge. Its all His water anyway.

  36. no, it *really* doesn’t take hindsight to take drought into consideration. like I said, there’s precendent for this–and by this I mean drought conditions prompting govts to force certain businesses to close–all over the United States in the past 10 years if not longer.

    if i ask business owners if they factored this into their considerations and they say "no" that doesn’t tell me that it isn’t obvious. it tells me that they aren’t thinking. (specifically, i mean business owners whose business is essentially, and not incidentally, the use of water).

  37. I wonder how many of you ďdo-goodersĒ in these posts feel indignated by the freakiní trash levels in our part of the country. Whenever Iíve bought the subject of the unbelievable amount of trash on our roads, Iíve got dumb stares wondering what my problem is.

    Iím kinda disgusted at how many passionate posts we get here on this subject, when all this really involves is for everyone to make some temporary attempts to be just a little conservationist. Itís like the price of gas. Even though $3 per gallon would affect many people that donít deserve higher costs of living, I admit to getting a subconscious glee in my eyes when I see the price rise.

  38. River or lake, they’re definitly pumping DOWNSTREAM of the lake. I never inspected their pumping equipment, but I’ve been told the millions of gallons a day come from a lake. A river at full flow is pretty damn close to how much they use at full capacity. They are one of the LARGEST snowmaking capacity ski resorts on earth.

    I am painfully aware of the lack of rain and the level of local rivers. I’ve been lamenting the kayak conditions statewide all year.

    But everyone knows that mountain snow is one of the LARGEST reserves of water on earth. The "spring thaw" does so much more than spring showers.

    Whatever, its not that warm up there, they can make snow. They just dont open for as long. This year will be colder than last year, and more precipitous, according to the farmers alminac. It WILL rain. Its just a matter of WHEN it rains.

    I dont think masanutten will open this year, their lake is too low to pump enough volume out of. And they’re not as high altitude.

  39. George Loper’s page includes an explanation from Wineschenk of what a “dry wash” entails, Express’s revised list of services, and the fact that they’re closing on Sundays. Click here to read it.

  40. Is it a cut-down or an insult if I tell you that the quality of your posting has gone downhill from its previously low standard? Not only that, but you’re annoying.

    Just an observation of fact. :)

  41. That usually isn’t water that’s used to wash windshields. It’s kind of like windex with a little antifreeze in it. It definitely didn’t come out of a tap and you really wouldn’t want to drink it.

  42. Ditto. The owner (or maybe it was a manager?) of Express Car Wash came to speak to my class for career day years ago at Murray High School. He seemed like a decent enough guy, so ever since then I have always taken my cars there.

    I had planned on taking my truck in this weekend to help them out during the drought. Getting it vaccumed, having the undercarriage sprayed, detailing the wheels, etc. But if this is their attitude, forget it. I doubt that I will ever go back there again.

    I agree that car washes are being unfairly singled out and are suffering while other, more drastic measures should be taken at the same time. But that’s no excuse for violating the ban.

    Should the day come that we do run out of water, I am sure that we will all be thinking of Express Car Wash. We will say that had they only obeyed the law we might have all flushed our toilets a few more times. At that point, I would imagine that flushing the toilet one more time will seem quite the fantastic luxury.

  43. Yesterdays shower produced 100 gallons from a section of my roof that is only about 400 sq. ft. There was actually more water but I wasn’t prepared to store it all and it had to overflow. Hook up a barrel to your downspouts and use that water for the customers who want to squeegee their cars clean.

    Kevin Cox

  44. I never expected Express to shut down completely. I expected them to provide gasoline and all non-water-related cleaning services, especially since they have a dry-wash available. I don’t find this to be at all unrealistic. In fact, I would have been providing them additional business during the drought, since I generally go just for a car-wash.

    As of Saturday, Express has gone to dry-wash only. Seems public opinion does matter.

  45. Just an additional piece of drought related info-

    Our governor gave the keynote address at Tenaska’s groundbreaking in Fluvanna. That’s the power plant that people have been actively protesting. One of their primary concerns was that the power plant will stress their groundwater rosources (the area has been a development explosion recently). I don’t understand exactly how much would be used or for what, but the multiple ecologists in my family are in a rage, I can tell you. Up to now I’ve been a fan of Warner’s efforts, but this seems like a serious back-pedal.

  46. Glad to see Weinshenk is taking this opportunity to continue to promote his business through all channels. All of his explanations add up to "spin control" at this point. Sorry–I have lost all sympathy for him since he decided he was above the law.

  47. Boycotts do work. And Charlottesville is still a "small enough" town for word of mouth to make at least a public relations impact. Sure, it might not make a dent in his bottomline in the long run with all the numerous SUV’s needing to be cleaned, but HE will know that WE know.

  48. Obviously you do not work in a business that depends on water. Perhaps a better solution is people like you save just a little bit more for these 100+ people employed at carwashes can stay employed.

    If you were one of these people I suppose you would just proudly head to the unemployment line. To you it’s just a bunch of snobs wanting to wash their cars, to some of these folks it’s their life.

  49. OK, forget the guy who owns the business. But let’s have a little more sympathy for the employees of these facilities who will lose their jobs.

  50. Perhaps we should send the tens of thousands of UVA students home. Seems funny that come the start of classes, that "suddenly" the water problem reached epidemic proportions.

    In August it was bad, but all of a sudden, after the return of the students, it’s dire. Hmmm….

    Bottom line – those of us that LIVE here deserve the water first, students second.

    I’m sure that’s an unpopular position, but tough.

  51. I certainly have sympathy for the people, who no fault of their own, may lose their jobs because Express Car Wash is getting shut down. I have been there before and it is not a good feeling. I hope that they don’t get lost in this crisis. The pain is going to hurt all over for everyone and will hit home for many in a variety of ways. But some of the criticisms of the way Express Car Wash has handled itself during this crisis are valid.

  52. Power plants require significant amounts of water for cooling. There are several in the state that pour out boiling hot water into rivers. The water smells funny, but I think that is a function of the temp and not something they put in the water.

  53. Yes, bottlers use local water. They may filter it, but it’s just the local water. That’s why Coke tastes a little bit different all around the country.

    I don’t see anything wrong with that. Soft drink bottlers should be exempt from water restrictions because they are selling drinking water (with some dye and sugar thrown in). People need to drink water to survive and I think it’s safe to say that most Americans these days get more of their daily intake from soft drinks than from straight water. The whole point of water restrictions is to conserve water for drinking and sanitary purposes. Closing a bottling factory would defeat that purpose.

    By the way, Dasani and all of the other bottled waters sold by Coca Cola and Pepsi are pure tap water. This is a very well established fact. Generally if it doesn’t specifically say ‘spring water’ on the packaging, it’s just tap water.

  54. So the carwashes use 300K gal of water per day, or .3% of our total 10 Million gal. daily consumption. The water authority is saying we basically have 75 days of water left IF conditions stay the same. Therefore we’ll end up with no water 2 days earlier thanks to the carwashes (if they’re left to operate). But if all 100K consumers use 10% less per day (that’s only 10 gal a day folks…2 toilet flushes….3/4ths of a dishwasher load etc) we’ll add on another 7.5 days of water. Make that 20% and we’ve got ourselves 2 weeks…in December.

    However, the folks in charge don’t tell us: What’s an inch of rain worth in terms of days or gallons added to the water supply? How does an inch rainfall reduce that day’s water consumption? How many inches of rain do we need in the next 75 days to refill the reservoirs? Hurricane season is upon us…is there no hope in the mean time? Will adding 2 to 4 weeks onto the end of our 75 days by simple conservation methods buy us enough time to replenish the reservoirs or not? Will someone from the news please ask the county administration the important questions and report on them so those of us not flushing, not watering, skipping a shower now and again, collecting rainwater…will know that what we’re doing is not in vain?

  55. That explains why everything is dead and the water is warm on the James by the Bremo plant. It was like a hot tub in there. There was also some strange barrier across the river that was water-level in the drought conditions a few summber ago. That’s terrible.

  56. What part of the county? I’ve always been struck by how little there is, especially after a car trip to some other part of the country. By comparison we look really good.

    Not that I think that any litter is ok.

    As far as gas prices are concerned, I think that similar ends could be accomplished by having insanely high taxes on nusience vehicles, such as Ford Explorers and Chevy Suburbans. They use more gas, cause more pollution, are more likely to cause accidents that are fatal to other drivers and are generally designed to be a problem on the road. Tax the hell out of them and require seperately classed licences to drive them.

  57. Assuming that this situation is only going to continue, I suggest a compromise. The city could bring in commercial water use consultants from an area of the country that is used to dealing with this. Other businesses in dry parts of the country must have had to face this. Presumably there are things that water-dependant businesses could do differently to stay in business.

    This would probably be expensive, but also in the city’s best interest due to the economic benefits of not having businesses close. It seems very much in keeping with the ‘give a man a fishing pole rather than a fish’ philosophy.

  58. "That usually isn’t water that’s used to wash windshields. It’s kind of like windex with a little antifreeze in it. It definitely didn’t come out of a tap and you really wouldn’t want to drink it."

    I’m going to let this drop because even I am tired of the point and Kevin Cox had the best idea. We’ll put out our rain barrels to catch rain from the roof to fill our windshield washer buckets from now on. But in the past we did not spend money on pre-mixed washer fluid to put in those buckets. It’s to expensive to do that and you’ll find almost no gas stations that do. We take large quantities of water, add a small bit of soap and ammonia and fill the buckets with that mixture. However, with the new efforts to conserve water locally we will now be using the purchased pre-mixed washer fluid OR rain water in the buckets. I’m sure everyone is sufficiently thrilled with the information but Jack was only partially right. The water WAS coming out of the tap but after most places were done with it you wouldn’t want to drink it.

  59. I seem to recall that the water levels were very bad earlier on in the year, then we got loads of continuous rain and the water authority declared the situation okay.

    What strikes me, I dunno, maybe I’m the only one, is how little Americans are willing to put into our infrastructure. I mean, spending billions on more war tanks, more nuclear subs, more stealth bomber shit, but the most basic infrastructures, namely water, electricity, roads, phone and schools, are left often to individual counties to fund.

    Another thing that strikes me: Albemarle is a fairly rich county. Why the hell haven’t they built supplemental water reservoirs? I mean, we hear this situation of drought has been going on for years, yet why haven’t they built reservoir towers? I’ll tell you why: the ridiculously low real-estate tax rate of 0.76% is a stupid sacred cow! I own property and I often wonder what marvels could be accomplished with a tax rate hike.

    Of course, many could successfully argue that county officials would probably just squander it. But then again, that’s a distinct possibility because *infrastructure standards* are so lousy.

  60. County policy makers and many of their supporters believe that growth that they don’t want to see will be spurred by adding reservoir capacity and building new roads so they don’t take steps to add critical new infrastructure. I don’t think that keeping the tax rate low really has a lot to do with it. However, some would contend that by not building new infrastructure they do limit new population growth that would force taxes up in order to build and fund new schools.

    Albemarle could tighten up on the "land use tax" program and make it less attractive to speculators and developers. The county would get more tax revenue and at the same time the program could become a genuine growth management tool.

    Kevin Cox

  61. Ummm…. what? Where did you read that? Do you always make up facts to suit whatever paricular rant you wish to indulge in?

    Please go back and read my post. All I said was that if a business is going to openly flaunt their disregard of civic responsibility (not to mention the law), they should be made aware that such actions will have consequences among those of us who actually give a shit.

    The original poster had said she would have bought gas or tried to support the business before it insisted on disobeying the city. I simply enouraged her (and anyone else for that matter) to make her feelings known to the owner. If you think I wanted Express closed, you’re mistaken.

  62. Yes. But I’m not talking about "build and fund new schools". I’m talking about improving the schools we have. Putting large trunks of electrical beneath ground so that every freakin’ storm doesn’t paralyze us. Building water towers. Making the water of better quality. Building and maintaining public toilets (remember that one?) Developing appropriate public transportation. Etc. etc.

    What’s happening is that Americans still think it’s the Wild West and we essentially don’t believe in government (just watch, if people are tracking this thread, I’ll be called a Communist!!!)

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