Westmont car wash recycles 80 percent of water - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Westmont car wash recycles 80 percent of water

Photo by Emily Cikanek

Frank Trilla and his crew at King Car Wash in Westmont, Ill.

What Our Water's Worth is an ongoing campaign led by the Metropolitan Planning Council and Openlands to raise awareness about the value of water in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. Each month, the campaign features a new story about an individual, community or business that's using water in a remarkable way. Read on to get a sneak preview of the April story, and sign up to receive the WOWW e-newsletter each month.


Cars – and water – come out clean at King Car Wash

by Nick Bastis
Sure, it’s April, but in the Chicago area, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee winter’s snowy onslaught is behind us. Still, most of us can’t help ourselves: We’ve got a bad case of spring fever, and with it the urge to store away winter’s scarves and boots with reckless abandon, throw open the storm windows, and take our salt (and perhaps beet juice) encrusted cars for much-needed TLC at the local car wash. 
Frank Trilla, owner of King Car Wash, in Westmont, Ill., is ready for the spring rush. Yet, while most water-intensive businesses fret that more water means more money out the door, Trilla isn’t concerned: For 20 years, King Car Wash has been using the same water over and over again. Family owned and operated since 1953, for the past two decades, Trilla has experimented with five different water recycling systems. “We were doing it before it was cool. We were doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” says Trilla. 
Water reuse is a great way to be a steward of our region’s water resources. Did you know we do a lot of things with treated, drinkable water besides drink it? Spraying down sidewalks, watering lawns, flushing toilets—and yes, washing cars—are just a few of the ways we use water we’ve paid to treat to drinking standards. Even worse, most of the time water is used just once before it runs down the drain.  
Watch the video below learn more about King Car Wash's recycling system. 


  1. 1. Welly from TCZGcYOI on November 3, 2012

    I used to drink bottled water smoitemes, and kept a case in my car for emergencies , but I've pretty much stopped buying bottled water. I'll still drink it at events, and I use the water cooler at the office (I'm pretty sure our tap water isn't that safe to drink), but I refill either a water bottle or a paper cup and keep it on my desk for several days. I use camelback water bottles and I love them they are so easy to drink out of when driving in the car, etc. Like yours, my parents buy a TON of bottled water and drink it in absolutely the most wasteful way possible. My dad drinks fizzy water by the case, but he has recently quit drinking, so I let the fizzy water go, but every f*cking time I come to their house and get a glass of water from the filter in the refrigerator (the built in kind delicious and easy), he tries to offer me an 8oz bottle of water instead. I do my best not to lose it or make snide comments about how wasteful they are, but smoitemes I can't help it. For two people who supposedly care about the environment, they are two of the most wasteful people I've ever met, and it makes reducing my own impact feel almost moot.

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