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Food Trucks: Compliance Resources

Compliance tools for food trucks in Texas that prepare food. (Not intended for single-service food concessions that only sell prepackaged food.)

Food truck businesses are primarily regulated by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the TCEQ. However, it is very important that you contact local authorities before starting a food truck business to find local ordinances that apply to the Food Truck industry. Many cities, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, and Lubbock, have websites to help you comply with local requirements.

If your food truck is a “mobile” establishment, the air rules do not apply because the TCEQ does not regulate mobile air sources.

However, if your food establishment is at a fixed location (“non-mobile”), there may be air regulations that apply to your business activities.

You may be classified as a De Minimis source of air pollution. De Minimis means there will be no significant contamination of the air. For assistance with making this determination, go to De Minimis for Air Emissions.

If you don’t qualify as a de minimis facility, you may qualify for a Permit by Rule (PBR). The following PBRs may apply to your facility:

For a complete list of PBRs, go to 30 TAC 106Exit the TCEQ Chapter 106.4Exit the TCEQ

If food establishments, including food trucks, are connected to a TCEQ-approved source, they are regulated by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). These rules are found in 25 TAC Part 1, Chapter 228Exit the TCEQ

If you have a water storage tank on your food truck and you haul water that was obtained from a TCEQ-approved source you would be regulated by the TCEQ. Rules for water haulers may be found in 30 TAC 290.44(i)Exit the TCEQ.

If you obtain water from a private well for your food truck, you may be a public water system (PWS) and would be regulated by the TCEQ. To help you understand rules and regulations for PWSs, read You're a Public Water System…Now What? (RG-496). This is a guide for rules and regulations that apply to PWSs, especially for those who may have recently discovered they own or operate a PWS.

Sewage waste

  • Wastewater from toilet or urinal flushing and sinks used for food preparation must be disposed of properly. These wastes must be:
    • Disposed of at a permitted wastewater treatment facility. (Contact your local authority to see if you can connect to its sanitary sewer system), or
    • Containerized and transported for disposal to a permitted wastewater treatment facility. Sewage waste must be transported by a TCEQ registered transporter. To search for a registered transporter, go to TCEQ’s Sludge Transporter Query.

      If you are able to connect to your local sanitary sewer system, you should help do your part to prevent unnecessary grease build up in the sewer lines and reduce sanitary sewer overflows by following a few easy tips found in Let’s Tackle the Grease in this Kitchen! (GI-290).

Graywater

  • Graywater includes wastewater from hand-washing lavatories and sinks that are used for disposal of domestic products such as mop water from floor cleaning and wastewater from cleaning kitchen and service areas. Graywater does not include wastewater that has come in contact with toilet waste; or from sinks used for food preparation or disposal.
    • Graywater may be pumped and hauled to a permitted wastewater treatment facility for disposal. The TCEQ does not require a license or registration for transporters of graywater.
  • If you want to reuse your reclaimed graywater see Beneficial Re-Use of Graywater and Alternative Onsite Water to find out if you qualify for this option.

Wastes generated from food truck businesses typically include food scraps; packaging materials such as cardboard, paper, and plastic; and grease from cooking. These wastes are considered municipal solid waste and do not require a permit from the TCEQ for you to dispose of in a permitted municipal solid waste landfill.

Your local city and county authorities may have regulations that affect your waste management practices. Contact your local authority to determine if your business is required to comply with local ordinances for the waste it generates. Before disposing of grease or cooking oils in a landfill, contact the landfill to make sure they are able to manage this type of waste.

Refuse, Recyclables, and Returnables, Facilities on the PremisesExit the TCEQ

Waste from Grease Traps, Grit Traps, and Septic Tanks: Questions and Answers (RG-389) - This guide discusses some of the requirements for businesses that generate waste cooking oil and grease.