The Irish Car Wash Association (ICWA) has questioned why Government and Irish Water have not taken action against unauthorised car washes following the recent exceptional dry spell and the prospect of water bans across the country.
The recently formed industry body that spawned out of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association represents petrol retailers operating car washes in Ireland.
Spokesperson David Blevings said, “We are well aware of the need to conserve water given the current conditions but why has Irish Water and Government not done more to tackle the unauthorised car wash industry in this country. A report commissioned in 2004 estimated that there are up to 3000 unregulated washes throughout the country and with each wash using up to 150 litres for every wash, an unregulated wash can easily exceed 1.5M litres of water per annum.
Our Members cannot compete with operators who are not meeting the same requirements as them and set up on derelict sites/car parks/roadside verges and offer the same service (at a knock down price). Many have no valid planning/waste disposal/insurance in place and in some cases, washes are known to use slave labour and allegedly do not have proper procedures in place for tax/VAT and PRSI payments”.
IPRA has lobbied the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment for a licensing scheme for local car washes but to no avail. Ironically, Revenue indicate they would support a licensing requirement but require a Government Minister to introduce it”.
ICWA says making licensing a legal requirement would ensure all car washes are registered, are using water correctly and disposing of effluent within current guidelines and more importantly, not wasting our valuable water resource.
“Rather than talk about introducing water bans that take seven days to notify consumers, Irish Water should take a long hard look at their current system as it would appear to ICWA that it is not fit for purpose and review how better they can work with local Councils, Revenue, EPA and other parties to ensure the car wash trade is compliant with current regulations, look to introduce incentives for rain water harvesting and encourage recycling to ensure the water is not wasted”, added David.