City of York Announces Stormwater Ordinance Changes

On August 16, 2022, York City Council voted to adopt the changes made to the City of York’s Stormwater Ordinance. These changes were mandated from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The city was obligated to make the changes to remain in compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the PA DEP.

The Following Ordinances Were Amended:

  • Title Four Article 935 – General Provisions (Bill #43)
  • Title Four Article 936 – Definitions (Bill #44)
  • Title Four Article 937 – Stormwater Management Standards (Bill #45)
  • Title Four Article 938 – Stormwater Management (SWM) Site Plan Requirements (Bill # 46)
  • Title Four Article 942 – Detection and Elimination of Illicit Discharges to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) (Bill #47)
  • Title Four Article 943 – Enforcement and Penalties (Bill #48)


As of August 16, 2022, washing your car parked on a city street, alley, driveway, or in a garage without floor drains, while utilizing ANY type of soap or solvent, IS NOW ILLEGAL. You may continue to use water ONLY to rinse off your vehicle, but you MAY NOT use Dawn soap, car washing soap, environmentally friendly soaps, nor any detergents. Soaps contain harsh chemicals that flow into the nearest storm drains and into our creeks and streams. There is no cleaning or filtration of this wash water before it hits a creek, stream, or lake. To improve the water quality of our creeks, streams, rivers, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, these changes were necessary.

Alternatives to washing your car on the street are to pull your vehicle onto your grass/lawn, or a stone pad. The grass or stone will promote infiltration instead of it running off the impervious surface into the storm drains. The ground will naturally filter the water and replenish ground water supplies. Please remember to remove your vehicle from the grass immediately after you are done. You may also take your vehicle to a commercial car wash where water is recycled.


Washing your vehicle on a driveway or in your garage where water will run off into the street is covered by this change in ordinance and is now illegal.

Community or Charity car washes are generally not allowed in the City of York due to the runoff risk, however, a discussion may need to occur with the interested party and the City of York staff to work out a possible solution.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Lettice Brown, CSI, at or (717) 324-6532.

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