Motor Oil

An Oily Sheen Can Be Seen in the Water on the StreetHow Oil Gets Into the Water

Leaking oil goes from your car to the street and is washed from the street into the storm drain and into our creeks, streams and the Yadkin River. Now imagine the number of cars in the area and you can imagine the amount of oil that finds its way from leaky gaskets into our water. So please, fix oil leaks.

Problem with Motor Oil

Oil does not dissolve in water. It lasts a long time and sticks to everything from creek banks to bird feathers. Oil and other petroleum products are toxic to people, wildlife and plants. One quart of oil can make a slick larger than eight football fields.

Oil that leaks from our cars onto roads and driveways is washed into the storm drain and then into the closest creek. Used motor oil is the largest single source of oil pollution in our lakes, streams and rivers. Americans spill 300 million gallons of used oil each year into our waters. This is 25 times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska.

Actions You Can Take

How can you use and change your motor oil and help keep our waters clean? Follow these guidelines to help contribute to the problem:

  • Clean up spills immediately with an absorbent material such as kitty litter.
  • Collect all used oil in containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Do not mix different engine fluids.
  • Never dispose of oil or other engine fluids down the storm drain, on the ground or into a ditch.
  • Recycle used motor oil. Take it to 3RC The EnviroStation or to an auto supply store or gas station that accepts used oil.
  • Stop drips. Check for oil leaks regularly and fix them promptly. Keep your car tuned to reduce oil use.
  • Use ground cloths or drip pans beneath your vehicle if you have leaks or are doing engine work.