Cheerleaders at Lincoln High School had to cancel a scheduled Oct. 20 car wash after a visit from the city's Environmental Services Department, the San Jose Mercury News reported Friday.
"Anything that is not storm water or rain water is considered a pollutant," said Jennie Loft, the department's acting communications manager. "If it goes into a storm drain, that pollutant will harm wildlife and habitats in the creeks."
Loft said school groups could still hold car washes if they were conducted under certain conditions. Those include washing vehicles over grassy or gravel areas, ensuring wash water doesn't go into the street, gutter or storm drain and leaving no soap stains on the ground.
The same rules apply to cars washed by their owners.
Cars can be washed with a solution that requires no water, but the concentrate costs $159 a gallon.
Lincoln cheerleaders had hoped to raise money from the car wash to fund a trip to a national competition in April.