Automotive Maintenance


Oil, grease, anti-freeze, and other toxic automotive fluids often make their way into the Madison storm drain system, and do not get treated before reaching the streams and rivers. This pollutes our drinking water and contaminates waterways, making them unsafe for people and wildlife. But following these best management practices can prevent pollution and protect public health.

Follow these simple tips to prevent pollution and protect your health. For more information, please contact Stormwater Program Management at (731) 423-2041.

Changing Your Oil & Oil Filter

  • Have your oil changed by a professional. If you do it yourself, recycle your used oil and oil filter at a certified collection center or household hazardous waste site. Clean any leaks and spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter.
  • Buy recycled motor oil for your car. Concerned about quality or performance? Mercedes Benz, known for its standards of quality and engineering, uses recycled motor oil in all their new vehicles.

Draining Your Radiator

  • 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 a household hazardous waste collection site.
  • 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.

Washing Your Car

  • Wash your vehicle at a car wash that reclaims wash water, preventing oil, grease, and toxic fluids from washing into the street and the storm drain system.
  • 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.
  • 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.