Restaurants and Food Service

How Do Restaurants and Food Services Affect Stormwater?

Food waste, grease, cleaning fluids, mop water and trash from restaurant operations often end up in the storm sewer system, and flow directly into our local waterways and rivers. These contaminants and hazardous materials pollute our drinking water sources and make them unsafe for people and aquatic life.

Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Clean equipment, floor mats, filters and garbage cans in a mop sink, wash rack or floor drain connected to the sewer through a grease trap.
  • Never wash these items or pour wash water out in a parking lot, alley, sidewalk, street or storm drain.
  • Non-hazardous and non-liquid solid wastes should be containerized in tied bags prior to disposing in dumpsters.
  • Lids on trash cants and dumpsters should fit securely to prevent dispersal of trash by animals or wind.
  • Request that your trash contractor pick up littler dispersed during their transfer.
  • Regularly inspect was storage areas for litter.
  • Use dry methods for spill cleanup, sweeping and using cat litter instead of hosing.
  • Have spill containment and cleanup kits available for possible spills on your property. To report serious toxic spills, call 1-800-33-TOXIC (1-800-338-6942)

Waste Disposal

  • Keep dumpster lids closed and the areas around them clean.
  • Do not fill dumpsters with liquid waste or hose them out.
  • Do not wash down or steam clean trash enclosure area unless you collect the water and dispose of it into the sanitary sewer.
  • To clean trash areas, hire a mobile pressure wash business that is familiar with the storm water regulations to clean these areas and make sure they provide you with a record of proper waste disposal.
  • Dispose of all unwanted toxic materials like cleaners, solvents and detergents through a hazardous waste hauler. These items are not trash.
  • Use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible

Kitchen Oil and Grease

  • Oil and grease wastes can be recycled. Find a rendering company through the yellow pages or online.
  • Don’t pour oil or grease into sinks, floor drains, onto a parking lot or street or into a storm drain.
  • Ensure that grease storage containers are not leaking and are in good condition.
  • Take steps to prevent grease from dripping or overflowing when transferring and emptying containers
  • Container lids should fit securely and be inaccessible to vandals and animals.

Eliminate Illegal Drain Connections

  • Illegal drain connections that connect to the storm drainage system rather than the sewer have historically been a problem in older buildings.
  • Plumbing from indoor sink drains should not discharge directly into storm drainage systems, gutters, creeks and streams. Instead, indoor drains should be plumbed according to local sanitary code.
  • Ensure that all indoor drains discharge to an approved wastewater treatment facility.


For More Information:
Green Restaurant Association: Learn how to green your operations and achieve Green Restaurant Certification.

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