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Water Services

Pollution Prevention Commercial and Industrial Guidance

Restaurants and Food Industry Best Practices

  • Recycle grease and oil.
  • Always keep grease bin lids closed! Immediately dry clean grease spills and dispose of as solid waste.
  • Inspect and clean area around dumpsters and compactors.
  • Use proper pressure washing techniques (see below).
  • Wash floor mats and garbage cans in mop sink, NOT in alleys or on sidewalks.
  • Pour wash water into a utility sink, mop sink, or floor drain, NOT a gutter, storm drain, or parking lot.
  • Don’t wash solid material down the storm drain.
  • Use dry clean methods to soak up spills outside and dispose of as solid waste.

Exterior Site Cleaning (Pressure Washing)

When cleaning and pressure washing sidewalks, patios, parking lots, exterior building surfaces, and other exterior portions of your business or property, special care should be taken to prevent pollutants from entering the stormwater system. A business or property owner can be fined for dumping harmful waste, including wash water.

  • Pre-plan any clean-up job by…
    • Identifying sloped areas of your property where wash water will naturally drain
    • Locating storm drains in the right of way of draining wash water
    • Properly training employees
  • Block storm drains in the right of way of draining wash water with material that will not allow water to pass through.
  • If possible, do not use soap or other chemical-based cleaners.
  • Dry clean area with absorbents and place in the trash.
  • Direct pressure wash water to proper disposal location such as a grassy area, sanitary sewer, or a collect and capture system.

Proper Wash Water Disposal Locations

  • Natural Area – Direct water across grassy areas allowing water to soak into the ground, which will naturally filter out pollutants.
  • Sanitary Sewers – Most wash water can be disposed of in a mop sink, toilet, or floor drain that leads to the sanitary sewer. Remove solid waste before sending wash water into the system. If you can see oil in the water (more than a shiny or glossy look), it needs to go through an oil/water separator. Typically, car washes or auto maintenance shops have a separator. Always ask permission from the owner before dumping.
  • Collect and Capture – You can never go wrong with using an environmental waste company. Wash water that is heavily contaminated with oil and grease, dirt and particles, or hazardous materials like chemical cleaners, lead-based paint, or gas should be collected and disposed of by an environmental waste company.

Never let dirty pressure washing water enter the Storm Drain. It is illegal and you can be fined! If you don’t know what is ok to do, call our Stormwater Division at 615-880-2420 for help.


Check dumpsters regularly for leaks. Pick up any loose garbage, leaving the area clear of trash and litter. Ensure that no dirty water or trash from dumpsters enters the storm drain or local waterway. If a dumpster is leaking, contact your waste management provider for a replacement.