Why is disposal of restaurant oil and grease a stormwater issue?

Ordinarily, disposal of restaurant oil and grease would be considered a wastewater issue. However, when disposed of improperly in airport trash compactors or dumpsters, oil and grease can corrode dumpsters and leak onto surrounding pavement allowing these pollutants to be washed to the storm drain and to local waterways. Stormwater contaminated with oil and grease can cause increases in bacterial levels, which can impact the aesthetics of our waterways and can affect aquatic life and drinking water supplies. See the Stormwater page for more information on stormwater pollution.

MDOT MAA requires restaurant tenants to keep restaurant waste such as oil and grease out of the sanitary and storm sewer systems by properly collecting and disposing of it through a disposal firm. Grease must be disposed of in appropriate grease receptacles and NOT into ordinary garbage dumpsters or into trash compactors. It is important to train employees on proper disposal practices to assure that oil and grease is disposed of properly.

When disposed of properly, restaurant oil and grease is not a stormwater issue. However, if these materials become exposed to and contaminate stormwater at the airport this can be considered a violation of the Clean Water Act and the associated BWI NPDES Stormwater permit. Permit violations can carry with them civil or criminal penalties (see Part II.C.15 and 16 of the NPDES Permit available on the Resource Documents page for more details”.).