Pollution Prevention for Retail & Food Services

The Town of Sudbury, like many municipalities across the country, operates a “municipal separate stormwater drainage system” or MS4, which is designed to convey discharges that are composed entirely of stormwater and is separate from the wastewater sewer system that conveys discharges from individual homes or businesses. It is important to note that MS4 stormwater discharges receive no formal treatment and flow directly into our community’s stormwater drainage system and into our local waterways.

Poor training and material management practices at retail and food service industry locations can cause pollutants to enter our stormwater system. These pollutants can build up in stormwater lines and cause blockages, negatively impact the operation of stormwater retention areas and drywells, or degrade the water quality of our washes and rivers. Pathways of this pollution include the direct pouring or dumping by ill-trained employees, poor cleaning habits, improper storage of chemicals and waste, and poor maintenance of waste containers.

Recommended Practices for Retail & Food Service Industries

Most of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) identified below are non-structural and cost little or nothing to implement. This listing is not all-inclusive and other non-structural and structural BMPs can be implemented to further reduce the potential of contributing to stormwater pollution.

Chemical & Waste Storage Areas


  • Position dumpsters away from storm drains, street gutters, and areas where stormwater flows.
  • Store chemicals in areas that are shielded from stormwater. Keep container lids secured.
  • Provide secondary containment for hazardous chemicals.
  • Properly dispose of any commercial and industrial chemicals.


  • Position dumpsters in areas where stormwater flows, accumulates, or is discharged.
  • Store chemicals in areas where stormwater flows or leave container lids open or loose.
  • Allow hazardous chemicals to be released into the stormwater system.  
  • Dispose of chemicals in trash dumpsters, onto the ground, or into the stormwater system.

Oil & Grease Disposal


  • Properly collect, contain, and recycle used grease and oil waste in a “tallow bin” or watertight container.
  • Keep tallow bin lids closed and secured and areas around these containers clean.
  • Monitor and “muck-out” grease traps and interceptors regularly.
  • Have grease traps or interceptors pumped when the thickness of floatables and sludge exceeds 25% of the tank’s depth.
  • Use absorbent pads to clean up grease and oil spills. Seal and dispose of them in a dumpster.


  • Dispose of grease or oil in trash dumpsters, onto the ground, into a stormwater system, or allow grease and oil storage containers to overflow.
  • Allow rainfall to enter and potentially overflow tallow bins or to mix with grease and oil spills.
  • Wait to maintain these structures until they overflow or backup.
  • Expect that regularly “mucking-out” grease traps and interceptors is the only maintenance required.
  • Use granular “kitty litter” materials to clean up oil and grease spills, or spray the area with water to either the stormwater system or floor drains.

Cleaning Procedures

  • Do

  • Wash floor mats, exhaust filters, tray racks, carts, or other equipment in a utility sink or near floor drains connected to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Clean greasy items in areas that drain to oil / water separators.
  • Empty mop buckets and carpet cleaning / floor scrubbing machine wastewater into a utility sink, or floor drain with an approved connection to the wastewater system.
  • Properly dispose of, or professionally clean, cleaning items that have come in contact with detergents, cleansers, solvents, fats, and oils.
  • Check labels and purchase products that are biodegradable and/or contain no cautionary warnings.
  • Use brooms, blowers, dry absorbent materials, and low-water use cleaning devices (without detergents) to clean outdoor areas.
  • Regularly pick up litter in the parking lot and use absorbents to clean up oil spills. Have the lot routinely cleaned with a street sweeper.
  • Maintain an organized inventory of all cleaning supplies and inspect these containers frequently for leaks.


  • Wash kitchen floor mats, exhaust filters, tray racks, carts, or other equipment in uncontained outdoor areas.
  • Wash greasy items in areas that will allow grease to bypass oil / water interceptors.
  • Dump mop bucket wastewater or empty carpet cleaning / floor scrubbing machines off of a loading dock, onto landscaped areas, onto the parking lot, or directly into a storm drain.
  • Store or pile mop heads, rags, or other items that have come in contact with chemical or other waste residuals in outdoor areas.
  • Purchase products that contain “caution,” “danger”, “toxic,” or “poison” on the label when other alternatives are available.
  • Clean outdoor building surfaces, sidewalks, eating areas, and parking lots by spraying water from a hose and / or using detergents.
  • Allow trash, debris, and oils from your parking lot to enter the stormwater system.
  • Allow unnecessary inventories to build up or age such that the product containers may fail and potentially drain to the stormwater system.

Staff Training


  • Train your staff in the proper cleaning methods and waste handling / disposal.
  • Train staff on proper spill cleanup and containment procedures.
  • Train staff to maintain an organized log detailing maintenance and operation of grease traps and interceptors.
  • Post a listing of Best Management Practices where all employees can view for reference.


  • Assume your staff knows the correct methods of cleaning and disposing of waste.
  • Expect your staff to “know” which cleaning supplies are required for different types of spills.
  • Wait and “try to find” this type of operation and maintenance documentation until it has been requested.
  • Expect your employees to remember the proper ways of cleaning and handling waste.


  • It is easier and cheaper to prevent stormwater pollution than to clean it up.
  • Your facility is not “safe” from stormwater pollution regulations.
  • Most stormwater structures require regular maintenance. Taking steps to reduce pollutants in stormwater will help keep stormwater structures in good operating condition.
  • Allowing chemicals, trash, debris, sediment, and oil or grease wastes / residues to enter the stormwater system has a negative effect on the operation of stormwater structures.
  • A malfunctioning stormwater structure is the problem of everybody who uses it.