Public Works

Contaminants and detergents can enter the storm sewer system when washing your car, degreasing auto parts, and performing regular maintenance. Careful automotive maintenance can prevent heavy metals, oils, detergents, antifreeze, and other vehicle fluids from entering the stormwater system.

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency accepts hazardous materials (such as old-based paint) free of charge for Linn County residents. No appointment is necessary. Contact the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency at 319-373-4771 or visit their website for more information.

Tips for Automotive Maintenance

Have your oil changed by a professional.  If you do it yourself, recycle your used oil and oil filter at the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Clean any leaks and spills with an absorbent material like cat litter.

Anti-freeze, made from the chemical ethylene glycol, is extremely toxic. Drain your radiator into a drip pan to avoid spills, and take the old anti-freeze in a sealed container to the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency.

Try less toxic alternatives to conventional anti-freeze. Anti-freeze made from propylene glycol, manufacturers claim, has a lower freezing point, a higher boiling point and lasts longer.

Wash your vehicle at a car wash that reclaims wash water, preventing oil, grease and toxic fluids from washing into the street and the stormwater system.  If you wash your car at home, choose a place where the wash water can soak into grass, gravel, or be diverted to nearby landscaping, away from the street and storm drains. 

Use soaps, cleaners, and detergents that are labeled phosphate free or biodegradable. The safest products for the environment are vegetable based or citrus-based soaps. 

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