Four Mesa auto repair shops will be officially designated as "green" businesses under a new certification program sponsored by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Mesa.
Sundance Automotive, Superstition Springs Chrysler-Jeep and two Sun Devil Auto Center locations will officially receive their green certifications Wednesday.
All of them met voluntary regulations drawn up by the department regarding the use of environmentally benign cleaning fluids, proper disposal of waste, energy conservation and other business practices that help preserve the environment.
The Mesa program is part of the Arizona Green Business initiative by the department to encourage auto repair shops to adopt environmentally sound practices, said department director Steve Owens. The program can have an environmental impact by reducing hazardous wastes that go into landfills and diverting contaminated water away from storm drains and waterways, he said.
"It’s a great program. We are very proud of what the city of Mesa and these four shops have done," he said.
Auto repair businesses that meet the green criteria receive the program’s logo to display at their business and use in advertising.
"People have a lot of choices for auto repairs, and when they are looking for a shop, that is one selling point," Owens said.
The criteria for receiving the green designation were set by the department, and officials of the Mesa Utilities Department and the department performed joint inspections to verify the safe procedures were being followed. Businesses were given points for such practices as using water-soluble degreasers or recycling antifreeze. If they accumulated enough points, they qualified for the green designation.
Dominick Jarnagin, inspector for the Mesa water division, solicited about 30 Mesa auto repair businesses to participate, but only the four accumulated enough points for certification. He wasn’t disappointed that so few met the requirements, which covered 80 pages. "The original paper was pretty extensive, so I was not expecting a large response," he said. "Actually I was pleased that there were this many that did decide to take this on."
He said the city is interested in continuing the program with the department to recognize other repair shops that meet the standards in the future. Also the department is expanding the program in partnership with AAA Arizona to inspect other repair shops throughout the state.
To meet the standards, David Beck, owner of Sundance Automotive, said he had to spend $1,500 to buy a machine to remove contaminants from fluid waste. But he also is saving money because of lower costs for hauling the waste away in larger amounts. "Once you buy the equipment, it seems like it’s cheaper," he said.
Jeff Wilhelm, service manager for Superstition Springs Chrysler-Jeep, said the standards were relatively easy for his business to meet because his shop was built originally to be environmentally friendly.
"If you had to change a lot of things, it would be pretty expensive," he said. "But we already have energy-efficient lighting and no drains in the shop. All of it (fluid waste) is picked up by a floor-cleaning machine and is put in a threestage clarifier (which removes the oil and other contaminants). So it doesn’t go into the sewer."
He thinks the green certification will help him attract more business, particularly with Jeep owners who enjoy the outdoors. "They may see it as we are looking out for our natural resources," he said.
Automotive, 2450 W. Broadway Road
• Superstition Springs Chrysler-Jeep, 6130 E. Auto Park Drive
• Sun Devil Auto
Center 1932 N. Power Road
• Sun Devil Auto
Center 3930 E Main St.