Driving Towards Sustainability: Assessment of Water Use and Wastewater Characteristics in Ghana’s Carwash Industry

  • George Acheampong Gyimah
  • Rama Osei-Bonsu
  • Isaac Monney
  • Richard Amankwah Kuffour
  • Bismark Dwumfour-Asare
  • Ebenezer Ntiamoah
Keywords: Wastewater, Carwash, Pollutants, Vehicles, Conservation, Recycling


In Africa, the carwash industry remains largely unregulated, using large volumes of potable water and releasing polluted wastewater into the environment. However, as freshwater resources dwindle worldwide, the need to conserve water has become very paramount. Implementing water conservation measures for the carwash industry requires comprehensive empirical data on water usage patterns and wastewater characteristics. To this end, this study assessed the water volumes used by the carwash industry and the nature of the wastewater generated at two locations in Ghana. Four proxy carwash stations were purposively selected and monitored over three weeks to determine water used to wash different vehicles, water consumed and wastewater generated. Composite wastewater samples were collected from two carwash stations to characterize the wastewater generated. ANOVA was used to test for statistical variation in wastewater characteristics using IBM SPSS version 26. Between 30 to 50 vehicles are washed daily at the carwash stations. Water volumes used to wash the vehicles varied widely – between 116 and 1127 litres, depending on the size. Vehicles washed manually used more water than those washed with spray guns. Each car wash station used up to 16,000 litres of fresh water and generated about 13,000 litres of wastewater. All the wastewater quality parameters except pH showed a statistically significant variation (p<0.05) between the two sample locations. On average, BOD (120-160mg/L) and COD (314-382mg/L) in the carwash wastewater exceeded their respective limits for effluent discharge. The mean BOD:COD ratio was 0.4, indicating difficulty in biological treatment. BOD and COD loads in the wastewater were about 2.55kg/day and 6.1kg/day, respectively. To minimize water consumption and wastewater generation at the carwash stations, spray guns for washing vehicles should be mandatory. Innovative approaches to recycling wastewater should also be further studied.


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How to Cite
Gyimah, G. A., Osei-Bonsu, R., Monney, I., Kuffour, R. A., Dwumfour-Asare, B., & Ntiamoah, E. (2024). Driving Towards Sustainability: Assessment of Water Use and Wastewater Characteristics in Ghana’s Carwash Industry . European Journal of Science, Innovation and Technology, 4(2), 162-171. Retrieved from https://ejsit-journal.com/index.php/ejsit/article/view/404