It is illegal to allow anything other than rainwater to be discharged to a storm drain.

Restaurants and food service facilities produce waste products, such as oil and grease.  Fat, oil and/or grease leaving your restaurant can cause buildup in city sewer lines and lead to sanitary sewer overflows. Additionally, if over spilled or disposed of improperly, materials such as fat, oil, grease, nutrients, surfactants, and pathogens can be harmful to water quality and creek habitats.

Individuals and businesses that improperly handle and dispose of non-stormwater materials down the storm drain are both subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

Best Practices: 

Proper Cleanup Procedures

  • Scrape excess grease into a container and dispose of it in the garbage or tallow bin.
  • When cleaning the tallow bin area, never hose down the pavement to clean it. Instead, sweep up all debris; grease/oily spots can be cleaned with rags and absorbents (such as kitty litter). Stubborn stains may be cleaned by mopping (wash water must be emptied into a sink, or sanitary sewer).
  • Place food scraps in compost or waste bin.

Cleaning products labeled “nontoxic” and “biodegradable” can still harm wildlife if they enter the storm drain system. These products are prohibited discharges to the storm drain system.

  • Hazardous waste (such as cleaning with solvents) must be cleaned up and collected for transport to a Household Toxics Facility. Special cleanup equipment and procedures may be necessary.
  • Clean floor mats and equipment in an area that drains to the sanitary sewer. It is a violation if they are washed outdoors in an area that drains to the storm drain system. Many linen service companies will also clean and replace mats.
  • Pour mop wash water into an inside drain only.

Equipment Cleaning

  • The cleaning of any equipment is prohibited in areas where runoff is to storm drains or waterways. This includes all outside areas, unless your business has an approved covered wash area that drains to the sanitary sewer.
  • Any rinse water generated from cleaning of grease filters, floor mats, grills, oven components, hoods, garbage cans, dumpsters, etc. must be collected and properly disposed of.

Wastewater Requirements

  • Check your local jurisdiction for discharge requirements.
  • All restaurant and food service facilities that discharge to the sanitary sewer may be required to obtain a Wastewater Discharge Permit. Contact your local Wastewater authority for more information.
  • Install a properly sized and City approved grease removal device, also commonly referred to as a “grease trap” or “grease interceptor”.
  • Maintain, clean, and inspect the grease removal device regularly; make sure all contents are removed, and sides and bottom are scraped.
  • Keep a grease trap cleaning log and make sure it is up-to-date, or keep receipts on-site if it’s professionally cleaned.
  • Hire a company to jet and/or video your sewer lateral once a year to avoid the buildup of grease in your lines.

Mobile Food Services

  • Discharge to an approved restaurant, commissary, or treatment plant that can accept and discharge wastewater to the sanitary sewer.
  • Sweep, collect, and dispose of litter using a readily available trash can.
  • Clean floor mats and equipment over a drainage system connected to the sanitary sewer.
  • Exterior washing of catering vehicles shall be conducted only at a commercial car wash.
  • Conduct catering vehicle maintenance at a licensed automotive repair shop.
  • Proper recycling of animal fat, vegetable oil, and grease is required.
  • Trash cans available for consumer use is required.

Keep Your Property Clean

  • Check and clean the property regularly.
  • Sweep up all debris, including any debris from trash and parking lot areas. Washing outside areas to a storm drain is strictly prohibited.
  • Never let power washing or steam cleaning water go to the storm drain. It must be collected and disposed of into a sewer drain.
  • Clean up wet or oily spots with rags and absorbent.
  • Replace damaged or leaking dumpsters by calling your garbage company.
  • Keep dumpster lids closed to keep rain out and debris in.
  • Store materials inside or under a cover so rain and wind don’t carry them to the storm drain.
  • Label storm drain inlets with “No Dumping, Drains to Creek” decals.

Are You Ready to Respond to a Spill?

  • Have a written plan.
  • Train employees annually on storm water regulations, spill response, personal safety, and hazardous waste handling and disposal.
  • Have spill cleanup materials onsite.
  • Have Safety Data Sheets for all products used.

For an emergency or a spill involving hazardous materials or hazardous waste call 911 or your local Fire Department.

For All Non-Emergency / Non-Hazardous Spills

  • To report a Non-Hazardous spill, or for other useful phone numbers, see Spill Numbers informational reference sheet for your local agency contact information or visit:

Srs002 Storm Drain Neighbor Popup 010424