Food Facilities

Food, Restaurants, and Grocery Stores


Food handling facilities such as restaurants, institutional cafeterias, grocery stores, bakeries, and delis, can contribute to stormwater pollution, mainly through improper cleanup practices that allow food particles, oil and grease, and cleaning products to flow to a street, gutter, or storm drain. Water that runs off sidewalks, alleys, and street gutters flows into storm drains. Anything entering storm drains flows directly to the Bay or Ocean. Unlike sanitary sewers (sinks, toilets, etc.) which flow to a wastewater treatment plant, storm drains flow directly to local waterways without treatment of any kind!


Follow these best management practices to prevent pollution, protect public health and avoid fines or legal action.


Don't wash floor mats, hood filters and other equipment outdoors.Do! Wash mats indoors near a kitchen floor drain connected to the sanitary sewer or in the mop sink.

Cleaning & 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. Don't wash them or pour wash water in a parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street. Sweep outside areas and put the debris in the garbage, instead of sweeping or hosing it into the parking lot or street.


Recycle oil & grease:Oil and grease wastes can be recycled. For a list of grease haulers in our area go to the CALFOG website. Don't pour oil or grease into sinks, floor drains or onto a parking lot or street. Keep grease bins covered and contained.


Dispose of waste food and garbage in the dumpster or compactor: Keep dumpster lids closed and the areas around them clean. Do not fill with liquid waste or hose them out. Call your trash hauler to replace any dumpsters that are damaged or leak. Do not wash down or steam clean trash enclosure area or trash bin unless you collect the water and dispose of it into the sanitary sewer. Hire a mobile pressure wash business that is familiar with the stormwater regulations to clean these areas and make sure they provide you with a record of proper wastewater disposal.


Don't Dump grease into trash bins or sinks. Disposing of grease into sanitary sewers is prohibit-ed by local ordinances because it clogs sewer lines. Never pour grease into gutters or storm drains.

Do! Collect grease in containers and contact a grease removal/recycling company to haul them away. The grease will be recycled into useful products like soaps, animal feed, or bio-diesel fuel. Go to CALFOG for a list of grease haulers. Secondary containment for grease bins is recommended.

Managing spills: 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 your local police department immediately.


Handling toxic chemicals: Dispose of all unwanted toxics materials like cleaners, solvents and detergents through a hazardous waste hauler. These items are not trash. Use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible. Hazardous Waste Haulers


For more information regarding food and restaurants, view or download these Acrobat files:



San Mateo County Stormwater Inspectors