Water-friendly Dishwasher Detergents

A new law goes into effect in Washington State July 1, 2010 that will require all dishwasher detergents to be low-phosphate formulas. This is part of the state's ongoing efforts to improve the health of water in our lakes, rivers and streams.

Phosphorus creates water pollution problems. It acts as a fertilizer to algae and plants. When the plants and organisms die, their decay uses up oxygen, suffocating fish and other aquatic life. Sewage treatment plants can remove much of the phosphorus from our wastewater, but they cannot remove all of it before it reaches rivers, lakes and streams.

It is estimated that dishwasher detergent accounts for 10 to 12 percent of the phosphorus in wastewater. The use of low phosphate detergents will reduce the amount of phosphorus in the wastewater treatment system. It's more effective and less expensive to decrease what goes down the drain than it is to treat it at the plant.