Restaurant Pollution Prevention

In Alameda County, storm drains flow directly to local creeks and San Francisco Bay with no treatment. Storm water pollution is a serious problem for wildlife dependent on our waterways, and for people who live near polluted streams or bay lands. Food handling facilities such as restaurants, institutional cafeterias, grocery stores, bakeries, and delis can contribute to storm water pollution, mainly through improper clean-up practices that allow food particles, oils, grease, and cleaning products to flow to a street, gutter, or storm drain. In the Tri-City area, discharge of grease or oil to the storm drain is prohibited by ordinance. 

Oil and grease can also cause serious blockages and backups in the sanitary sewer system. Sewer system backups can be a threat to both public health and the environment. In the Tri-City area, wastewater that drains to the sanitary sewer must meet the local oil and grease limit of 300 mg/L. Food service establishments are required by ordinance to install and maintain grease traps or interceptors to keep grease out of the sewer system.

Following the "Best Management Practices" (BMPs) at the links below will help ensure compliance with ordinance requirements with respect to both the sanitary sewer and the storm drains, and will contribute to a cleaner Bay. 

What is Pollution Prevention?

Pollution prevention simply means reducing the amount of waste you generate by changing the way you do business. Changes include using less hazardous materials, conserving energy and water, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, reusing or recycling leftover materials, and managing waste properly. 

The bottom line is pollution prevention can... 

  • Save you money
  • Reduce your regulatory burden
  • Create a safer working environment
  • Improve your public image

Pollution Prevention Tips

1) Purchase supplies in bulk form

2) Work with suppliers to reuse pallets and crates

3) Purchase reusable napkins, place settings, and utensils if feasible

4) Use health department-approved, refillable containers instead of individual packets

5) Recycle cardboard, newspaper, office paper, aluminum cans, etc.

6) Support recycling by purchasing recycled products

7) Service heating, cooling, and ventilation systems regularly

8) Use energy-efficient lighting

9) Use dishwasher only when fully loaded

10) Pre-soak utensils and dishes in pond water

11) Look for running faucets and fix water leaks right away

12) As you wash your hands, turn off water when soaping up

13) Don’t use running water to melt ice or frozen foods.

14) Donate unserved food to your local food bank or homeless shelter

15) Compost food waste

FOG/Kitchen Prevention Tips

All Food Service Establishments shall be required, at a minimum, to comply with the following Kitchen Best Management Practices, when applicable:

16) Installation of drain-screens/baskets. Drain-screen/Baskets shall be installed on all drainage pipes in food preparation areas.

17) Segregation and collection of waste cooking oil. All waste cooking oil shall be collected and stored properly in recycling receptacles such as barrels or drums. Such recycling receptacles shall be maintained properly to ensure that they do not leak. Licensed waste haulers or an approved recycling facility must be used to dispose of waste cooking oil.

18) Disposal of food waste. All food waste shall be disposed of directly into the trash or garbage, and not in sinks.

19) Employee training. Employees of food service establishments shall be trained by ownership/management periodically on the following subjects.

a) How to “dry wipe” pots, pans, dishware and work areas before washing to remove grease.

b) How to properly dispose of food waste and solids in enclosed plastic bags prior to disposal in trash bins or containers to prevent leaking and odors

c) The location and use of absorption products to clean under fryers baskets and other locations where grease may be spilled or dripped.

d) How to properly dispose of grease or oils from cooking equipment into a grease receptacle such as a barrel or drum without spilling.

Training Shall be documented and employee signatures retained indicating each employee’s attendance and understanding of the practices reviewed. Training records shall be available for review during inspection by the Environmental Compliance Inspector. Training records shall be retained for a minimum of three (3) years on site.

20) Maintenance of kitchen exhaust filters. Filters shall be cleaned as frequently as necessary to maintained in good operating condition. The wastewater generated from cleaning the exhaust filter shall be disposed of properly.

21) Kitchen signage. Best management and waste minimization practices shall be posted conspicuously in the food preparation and dishwashing areas at all times.

22) Maintenance of floor-mats and kitchen appliances. The wastewater generated from floor-mats appliance washing operations must be disposed of properly by discharging it into sanitary sewer.

Attention Food Service Establishment Owners

For all new construction, tenant improvements, and changes of business ownership, you are required to submit a Food Service Permit Application and Menu to the District. (Click here)  



Learn More.

5072 Benson Road

Union City, CA 94587-2508

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