Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Water: Polluted Runoff

Illicit Discharges

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water, except for discharges allowed under a NPDES permit or waters used for firefighting operations. These non-stormwater discharges occur due to illegal connections to the storm drain system from business or commercial establishments. As a result of these illicit connections, contaminated wastewater enter into storm drains or directly into local waters before receiving treatment from a wastewater treatment plant. Illicit connections may be intentional or may be unknown to the business owner and often are due to the connection of floor drains to the storm sewer system. Additional sources of illicit discharges can be failing septic systems, illegal dumping practices, and the improper disposal of sewage from recreational practices such as boating or camping.

Illicit discharge detection and elimination programs are designed to prevent contamination of ground and surface water supplies by monitoring, inspection and removal of these illegal non-stormwater discharges. An essential element of these programs is an ordinance granting the authority to inspect properties suspected of releasing contaminated discharges into storm drain systems. Another important factor is the establishment of enforcement actions for those properties found to be in noncompliance or that refuse to allow access to their facilities. The model ordinance in this section includes language to address illicit discharges in general, as well as illicit connections from industrial sites. The language is borrowed from a number of ordinances and communities will need to assess what enforcement methods are appropriate for their area.


Local Government Environmental
Assistance Network

lgean
cwp_logo
The above related web sites are external to the EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

Jump to main content.