Restaurants and Food Services
Restaurants and food service facilities produce waste products, such as oil and grease, which are actually pollutants. Excessive fat, oil or grease leaving your restaurant can cause buildup in city sewer lines and lead to sanitary sewer overflows. It can also clog your outbound pipes or sewer lateral, leading to slowed water draining or backups in your facility. Additionally, if spilled or disposed of improperly these contaminants can pollute our local creeks and sewer system and cause harm to the public and the environment.
The most important thing to know about sewers and storm drains is that they are two different systems. When water flows off your property, it flows directly into the storm water drainage system. The storm water drainage system consists of street gutters, inlets, catch basins, and ditches. Many people believe that storm water gets “cleaned” but it does not. Rather, it flows directly into our creeks, rivers, lakes, and the ocean without any treatment at all. Only the water that goes down a sink, toilet, or another inside drain flows to the wastewater treatment plant. Toxic material cannot be discharged to either system.
As a valued member of the local business community, we know that you are invested in protecting the quality of life that your customers, members of the community, and visitors enjoy.
Proper Cleanup Procedures
- Scrape excess grease into a container and dispose of it in the garbage or tallow bin.
- Place food scraps in waste containers.
- 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 in a sink, or sanitary sewer).
- Even products labeled “biodegradable” or “environmentally safe” contain ingredients which are initially toxic to aquatic life, including fish.
- Hazardous waste (such as cleaning with solvents) must be cleaned up and collected for transport to the 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 water system. Many linen service companies will also clean and replace mats.
- The cleaning of any equipment is prohibited in areas where runoff is to storm drains or waterways. This includes all outside areas as all outdoor drains go to the storm drain system, unless your business has an approved covered wash area.
- Specific equipment includes: grease filters, floor mats, grills, oven components, hoods, garbage cans, dumpsters, etc.
- All restaurants and food service facilities in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, and Cotati that discharge to the sewer are required to obtain a Wastewater Discharge Permit. Go to srcity.org/foodapp for a Wastewater Discharge Permit Application.
- 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.
- Having trash cans available for consumer use is required.
Keep Your Property Clean
- Check and clean your property regularly.
- Sweep up all debris, including any debris from your parking lot, and never wash it down the storm drain.
- Label storm drain inlets with “No Dumping, Drains to Creek” decals. Contact Storm Water and Creeks at (707) 543-4200 for more information.
- Clean up wet or oily spots with rags and absorbent.
- Pour the mop wash water into an inside drain only.
- Never let power washing or steam cleaning water go to the storm drain. It must be collected and disposed of into a sewer drain.
- Sweep the trash areas daily. Never use a hose in your dumpster or on the pavement.
- Replace damaged 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.
Are You Ready to Respond to a Spill?
- Have a written plan.
- Train your employees on procedures and equipment use.
- Have your plan and spill cleanup equipment accessible.
- Know how to handle hazardous materials.
- Report hazardous spills.
Santa Rosa Contact Information
- To report a spill call (707) 543-3800.
- To report a hazardous material spill, such as oil or gasoline products call 911 or (707) 528-5151.
- To get information on recycling and proper disposal of materials call (707) 565-DESK (3375), or go to www. recyclenow.org.
- To get information on toxics disposal specifically call (707) 795-2025.
- For more information about obtaining a Wastewater Discharge Permit call the Environmental Compliance Section at (707) 543-3369 or visit srcity.org/envcompliance.
- To get information regarding dumpsters contact your garbage company at (707) 568-1478.
- For help implementing these measures or if you have questions about storm water call (707) 543-4200.
- Contact Sonoma County Environmental Health at (707) 565-6565 for information on restaurant and food permits.
Releasing pollutants directly into the storm drain system or a waterway violates the City of Santa Rosa’s Storm Water and Sanitary Sewer Use Ordinance. Excessive fats, oils and grease buildup can cause sanitary sewer overflows.