Spotting Illegal/Illicit Discharge

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Federal and State laws prohibit the discharge of certain types of non-stormwater related materials into the storm drain system. These laws help to protect the quality of our water resources and the natural environment around them. The information below is designed to help citizens recognize legal and illicit discharges into storm drains and provide a system for reporting these incidents to the proper authorities. If you are not sure if an activity is allowed or prohibited, please contact the Department of Public Works.

Prohibited Discharges

  • Industrial process water
  • Commercial car wash wastewater
  • Sanitary sewer flows
  • Wash-down of loading areas
  • Wastewater treatment plant effluent
  • Dumping of liquid waste
  • Chlorinated pool water
  • Water softener brine backwash

 Permitted Discharges

  • Water utility line flushing
  • Runoff from firefighting
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Ground water recharge
  • Discharges from potable water sources
  • Dechlorinated pool water
  • Street wash water from cleaning/maintenance 
  • Residential and fund-raiser car washing

 Possible Signs of Illicit Discharge

  • Unusual color or cloudiness
  • Strong pungent or musty odors
  • Floating debris
  • Surface scum or foam
  • Oil sheen
  • Algae
  • Dead vegetation or inhibited growth
  • Dead animals
  • Stains on channel bottoms or sides
  • Pipe corrosion

 What to Do

If you witness suspected illicit discharge or observe water pollution which could indicate the presence of illicit discharge, please contact the Department of Public Works at 703-771-2790.