As a restaurant owner, you know that it’s essential to maintain a clean property. Equally as important is keeping your local stormdrains clear of debris, fertilizer, pesticides, and other contaminants to prevent pollution and avoid costly fines.

Follow these best management practices to eliminate stormwater runoff :

General Cleaning

  • Whenever possible, purchase water based cleaning products. Look for products labeled “non-toxic,” “non-petroleum based,” “ammonia-free,” “phosphate-free,” “dye and perfume-free,” or “readily biodegradable.”
  • Never pour wash water or chemicals down a stormdrain.
  • Use a mop and bucket, and dispose of wash water down a mop sink, floor drain, or sanitary sewer (sink or toilet).
  • Do not wash floor mats or kitchen equipment outside.  Take floor mats to a local car wash for cleaning.
  • Be sure to store all cleaning chemicals in appropriate containers that don’t leak.
  • Dispose of unused chemicals properly, and follow appropriate cleanup practices.
  • Collect wastes for recycling or proper disposal.
  • Read labels carefully and follow directions.


  • Keep a spill kit appropriate for the materials you use handy and stocked, ready for use.
  • Any chemical spills, especially outdoors, should be swept up immediately.
  • Use absorbent material or containment berms for liquid spills.
  • Always use dry methods to clean spills (sweeping) and never hose down the area.
  • Report any chemical spill to the local hazardous waste cleanup team. They’ll know the best way to keep spills from harming the environment.

Oil and Grease

  • Regularly inspect and clean out grease traps/interceptors.
  • Always use proper oil and grease recycling receptacles.
  • Never dump oil and grease wastes into storm drains or onto parking lots.
  • Use care to avoid spills when taking used oil to the grease receptacle.
  • If cooking oil is spilled, clean it up immediately using dry absorbents such as granular clay or kitty litter.

Parking Lots & Dumpsters

  • Dry sweep paved areas on a regular basis, especially around storm drains. This includes parking lots, patios, sidewalks & dumpster areas. Do not use a hose to wash down pavement.
  • Collect and dispose of debris in waste containers.  Do not sweep into the gutter or storm drain.
  • Cover dumpsters and keep them clean to avoid leaks. Check regularly for leaks, and replace if necessary.
  • Make sure a plug is installed in the container's drain opening, which is usually near one of the back corners of the container. Without a plug, liquid wastes in the container are allowed to discharge freely.
  • Never wash down dumpsters with a hose. If cleaning is needed, contact the leasing company.
  • Clean up outdoor spills immediately to minimize safety hazards and prevent spills from reaching a storm drain inlet.
  • Schedule regular waste pick-ups.


  • Hire a WaterSense Certified Landscape Irrigation Professional to review your system at the beginning of each irrigation season.  This will help reduce your water consumption, save money, and maximize the efficiency of your system.
  • Avoid over-watering to prevent excess runoff.  A lawn needs just 1" of water per week to be green. Be sure to check weather reports.
  • Upgrade to a moisture sensor to ensure irrigating only when needed, and avoid using old-fashioned irrigation timers.
  • Don't irrigate in the middle of the day or when it’s windy, in order to prevent evaporation and runoff.
  • Make sure that sprinkler heads are pointed at the lawn and not the pavement - adjust and fix heads as necessary.
  • Comply with any watering restrictions adopted by your town. These restrictions are in place to prevent excess water consumption during times of drought.

Redirect Rainwater

  • Build a rain garden or grassy swale, which is a simple, specially designed area planted with native plants that captures runoff from parking areas, driveways, walkways and roofs and filters it through the soil, rather than allow it to flow directly into storm drains, ponds or lakes.
  • Install a vegetated filter strip of native grass or plants along roadways or near streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.
  • Place a rain barrel under your downspout to easily capture rain for use around your property.
  • Redirect downspouts so that water flows into grass or shrubs instead of onto a driveway or sidewalk.
  • Install a dry well on your property to capture excess runoff.

Snow/Ice Removal

  • Avoid over-salting in the winter, and sweep up any excess or spills.
  • Store salt in a covered area.
  • Use a product that is non-toxic to vegetation and wildlife.
  • Do not dump snow into a body of water.