Your Business Solution to Water Pollution

Businesses by Lake Eola

Better Businesses, Better Lakes.

Did you know that any time someone pours or sweeps anything into any Orlando street, parking lot, or alley, it will most likely end up in one of the city’s lakes? Many Orlando businesses discard debris or discharge wastewater onto the ground and into the storm drains, contributing to lake pollution.

The City of Orlando’s Streets and Stormwater Division will be actively enforcing codes dealing with pollutant discharges to storm systems. Per City Code, it is prohibited to discharge any pollutants into the lakes or any part of the stormwater system, which includes streets, parking lots, alleys, sidewalks, storm drains, and retention/detention ponds. Code Enforcement action may include fines up to $1,000 per day of violation and reimbursement for expenses incurred by the city in carrying out pollution abatement.

Best Practices

Your business must follow best management practices to ensure you are not contributing to stormwater pollution. Stormwater Pollution includes any of the following, according to City of Orlando Code Sec.31.19: 

  • Chemicals
  • Paints
  • Soaps (even biodegradable)
  • Antifreeze and automotive products
  • Pet waste
  • Silt or soil
  • Degreasers and solvents
  • Lawn clippings
  • Leaves and branches
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Fertilizers
  • Petroleum products such as oil, grease or gasoline


Hosting a special event in the city? See Best Management Practices for Special Events.  

Overall Best Management Practices for Special Events

During a rainfall event, water flows from your event site, through storm drains, directly to lakes without any treatment. Stormwater can pick up pollutants such as oil, trash, and spilled food left behind from vendors and guests of your event. As an event coordinator, your organization can be liable for any stormwater violations. These violations could result in substantial monetary fines and cleanup costs. The cost to clean up pollutants once they are in a stormline or lake can be several thousand dollars. To help your event comply with the federal, state, and local stormwater regulations, we have outlined some Best Management Practices (BMPs) for you and your vendors to follow. It is your responsibility to inform all vendors and participants at your event of proper stormwater management practices.

Best Management Practices

The objective in stormwater protection is that only rainwater enter the storm drain. Best management practices are specific steps taken to prevent stormwater pollution at your event. All employees and vendors shall review this information sheet as a training tool, and make every effort to keep pollutants from going down the storm drain by putting the following BMPs into practice. In the City of Orlando, event planners have the unique opportunity to hold activities in close proximity to our more than 100 local lakes. Please join us in protecting some of our most beautiful natural resources.

Activity Best Management Practices
Contracts and Leases

• If you have contracts with vendors participating in your event or companies hired to help with cleanup, include language requiring them to be educated and responsible for proper stormwater management.

• Put this language in any contract into which you enter.

Waste Management and Disposal

• Be sure adequate receptacles are provided for use by vendors and guests to prevent litter.

• All waste receptacles (dumpsters) must be sturdy, leak-tight and equipped with lids or covers. Keep all outdoor receptacles closed unless adding or removing wastes.

• Do not wash out any receptacles outdoors unless wastewater is collected or discharged to sanitary sewer.

• Be sure containers are emptied as needed to prevent overflow. It is also important they are emptied at the end of each day.

• Never place liquids in an outdoor waste receptacle.

Portable Toilets

• Be sure they are serviced frequently to prevent any overflows or leaks.

• Require your vendor to stake down the portable toilets to prevent them from blowing over in high winds or from being tipped over.

• Do not place portable toilets next to or over a storm drain.

Grease Management

• Ensure that each vendor has a spill cleanup kit (i.e., absorbent material, broom, dustpan, trash bags, etc.) on hand at all times. Clean up spills immediately.

• Protect the ground under and significantly beyond your deep fryer using a tarp. Prevent any grease residue from being deposited on paved surfaces.

• Properly dispose of all grease into an approved collection bin.

Pressure Washing

• Use dry cleanup methods to collect litter and absorb any liquid wastes prior to any pressure washing. These include using absorbents (e.g. “Oil-Dri,” kitty litter, rags, sand, etc.), sweeping, and scraping off dried debris.

• If you are not using any detergents or chemicals and are only cleaning surfaces of ambient dirt or dust, then this wash water can be directed to landscape or contained onsite and allowed to evaporate. However, if there is any food residue or oils on areas that are going to be washed, this method is NOT acceptable.

• Prior to pressure washing, identify where all storm drains are located. Storm drains may be located in the gutter at the end of a block or in landscaping hidden from view. Wash water must not be discharged onto paved surfaces or allowed to enter storm drains.

• Determine where water will pool for collection.

• Use the following types of equipment to protect storm drains and to contain and collect wash water: vacuum pumps, booms/berms, portable containment areas, weighted storm drain covers, inflatable plumber’s plugs, oil/water separators, holding tanks, portable sump pumps, hoses and absorbents. Using wet vacs in areas near storm drains, and ditches is the recommended BMP.

• Once water is collected, dispose of it properly. Collected wash water may be disposed of into a sanitary sewer drain at the job site or at the contractor’s place of business. (FIRST ask for permission from property owner. DO NOT dispose of wastewater to a septic system.)

Wastewater Management

• Provide disposal containers for your vendors to prevent having this water discharged to the environment.

• Keep these disposal containers out of sight of the guests to prevent them from using containers as trashcans.

Illicit Discharge Reporting

• Stay alert for any signs of illegal discharges. Only rainwater is allowed to flow into any storm drain inlet or drainage ditch.

• Report any suspicious discharges to your City of Orlando event liaison promptly. To report a fuel or chemical spill, call 911. Please remember, outdoor waste receptacles are intended for dry materials only.

For more information on stormwater pollution prevention, or to report an illicit discharge, contact the City of Orlando Stormwater Hotline at 407.246.2370 or visit

Download this information here.

Restaurant BMPs

a. NEVER clean kitchen equipment, floor mats or trash cans in paved areas, parking lots or alleyways. Clean all pots and pans in utility sink or dishwasher.

b. Only dispose of mop water into a mop sink. Do not dump it into streets, parking lots or alleyways.

c. Place used cooking oil into labeled cooking oil recycling containers. NEVER pour grease or oil into sinks, floor drains, paved areas, storm drains or waterbodies. Ensure cooking oil storage bins are free of leaks. Learn more

d. Immediately clean used cooking oil and food spills using dry cleanup methods.


Vehicle BMPs

a. Store hazardous materials such as batteries, waste fluids and leaking auto parts in weather-tight, labeled containers away from high traffic areas and under shelter. Dispose of hazardous waste properly.

b. Use oil caddies for collection and transport of used oil.

c. Inspect equipment and vehicles for leaks daily. If a leak is detected, apply absorbent material immediately. Place drip pans or drop cloths underneath leaks.

d. Utilize commercial car washes. Washing vehicles on a paved driveway or parking lot leads to stormwater runoff. Wastewater from a carwash is treated at a wastewater treatment plant.


Landscaping BMPs

a. Direct grass clippings and other yard waste away from paved areas and storm drains. Blow yard debris back onto lawns to use as mulch or bag them for proper disposal. Properly bundle branches for disposal. Learn more about solid waste 

b. Use fertilizer wisely.

c. Utilize native plants, shrubs and trees to reduce the need for watering, pesticides and fertilizers.

d. Talk with your contracted landscaper about their management practices. Ask for their Green Industries Best Management Practices certification.


BMPs for all businesses

a. NEVER dump wash water into paved areas, storm drains or waterbodies. Pour all mop water and other wastewater into utility or wash sinks.

b. NEVER hose down floor mats, filters or garbage cans in paved areas or near storm drains.

c. Clean up spills IMMEDIATELY and only use DRY clean up methods. Keep absorbent materials like kitty litter on hand to assist in containing spills. NEVER hose down a food or chemical spill.

d. Keep dumpster areas clean and lids closed when not in use. Ensure dumpster plug is in place. Never fill dumpster with liquid waste. Replace dumpsters when they are damaged. 



For more information on what your business can do to help keep our lakes clean, contact 407.246.2257 or