Protecting our Lakes & Streams: Identifying Illicit Discharges

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water. These non-stormwater discharges can occur due to illegal connections to the storm drain system from any residential, commercial, or other establishments.

As a result of these illicit connections, contaminated wastewater can enter into storm drains or directly into local waterways without receiving treatment from a wastewater treatment plant. Illicit connections may be intentional or unknown to the property/business owner. These connections are most often due to the floor drains connected to the storm drainage system. Additional sources of illicit discharges are failing septic systems, illegal dumping practices, and the improper disposal of sewage from recreational practices such as boating or camping. Illicit discharges also can be generated by persons using antiquated methods for tasks such as cleaning pool filters, cleaning paint brushes, car washing and other common activities.

Citizens can do their part in protecting our lakes and streams by recognizing and reporting any suspected illicit discharge. Please download the How to Spot Illicit Discharges brochure for more details.

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