Best Management Practices for Special Events

The majority of storm drains flow directly to Dry Creek, the Tuolumne River, or percolate into our groundwater through rockwells without treatment. Storm water pollution is a serious problem for wildlife dependent on our waterways and for people who live near polluted creeks and rivers.

Food handling facilities such as restaurants, institutional cafeterias, grocery stores, bakeries, and delis can contribute to stormwater pollution mainly through improper cleanup practices that allow food particles, oil and grease, and cleaning products to flow to a street, gutter, or storm drain.

In addition to drawing flies and vermin and causing odor and public health problems, decaying organic materials use up dissolved oxygen in creeks and rivers, stressing or killing aquatic animals. Also, food handling facilities sometimes discharge toxic chemicals, including cleaning products, disinfectants, and pesticides. Even biodegradable soaps contain ingredients which are initially toxic to aquatic life.

The discharge of grease, oil, cleaning products and food particles to the storm drain system is prohibited in the City by the Modesto Municipal Code (MMC 5-6.221 and MMC 5-10.201). Best Management Practices reduce the amount of these materials entering the storm drain system and will ensure compliance with ordinance requirements. 

  1. Farmers Market
  2. Special Events

Best Practice Guidelines

  • Practice good housekeeping
    • Outdoor cleaning of floor mats, filters, garbage cans, and greasy kitchen equipment should always be done in a designated, bermed area that drains to the sanitary sewer. Never allow wash water to flow into the gutters and storm drains.
    • Sweep your area regularly. Pick up and dispose of litter before it ends up in gutters and storm drains. Provide trash and recycling containers around your area for litter control.
    • Use dry methods (sweeping, rags, kitty litter, etc.) whenever possible for outdoor spill cleaning. Don’t hose down spills. If wet cleaning is required, be sure to collect the wash water and dispose of it in a sink or other indoor drain.
  • Do not hose out dumpsters/trash cans. Instead, apply absorbent material, such as kitty litter, over any spilled fluids. Absorbent will usually be knocked out when the dumpster is emptied. Any spilled absorbent can easily be swept up.
  • If the trash/recycling can regularly overflows, get a larger one or arrange for more frequent trash removal.
  • If using a bucket cleaning system to wash utensils or other kitchenware, do not dump the wash water into the gutter or allow it to enter the storm drain. Instead, this wash water can be dumped onto a pervious surface, such as dirt or grass. Do not allow dumped wash water to flow back into the gutter or road. This wash water can also be dumped into a drain that is connected to the sanitary sewer.
  • If using a generator, place it on a pervious surface such as dirt or grass. If it must be placed on the sidewalk or road, ensure that it is at least 25 feet from any storm drain inlet. Gas cans must be placed on a pervious surface. If fuel is spilled, it must be immediately absorbed with kitty litter, dirt, or other absorbent material. This material must then be swept up and properly disposed of. If fuel enters a storm drain inlet, contact the City of Modesto Environmental Compliance Section immediately.