Illicit Discharge Laws

What is an illicit discharge?oil

The EPA defines an illicit (or illegal) discharge as any discharge into a storm drain system this is not composed entirely of stormwater.  This includes: pollutants poured on the ground then carried by stormwater runoff; pollutants poured into a storm drain, ditch, or stream; or a physical connection (like a pipe) installed to carry pollutants from a source into a storm sewer system without a permit.

Why are illicit discharges a problem?

Storm drain systems empty directly into natural waterways (streams, rivers, and wetlands), and do not go to a water treatment plant.  So, any pollution that makes its way into storm drains can damage the environment and pose risks to human health.  Rain water can easily carry pollution from parking lots, streets, and lawns, such as litter, oil, or fertilizer into storm drains and from there into waterways that we use for drinking water, fishing, swimming and so on.

What are some examples of illicit discharges?

Click any of the sources of pollution below to learn the consequences of these pollutants in the environment and ways to keep them out of lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Car care/auto-repair shops
Car washing
Litter and illegal dumping
Cleaning products, chemicals, paint, etc.
Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
Leaves and yard waste
Septic systems and sewage
Pet waste
Fats, oils, and grease
Swimming pools
Washing machines

Other things that may not be disposed into storm sewers or the environment:
Mop water
Sediment from construction sites
Litter, trash, or debris
Recreation vehicle sanitary discharges