What is an "Illicit Discharge" to a storm sewer or a drainage system?
An Illicit Discharge occurs when something other than the normal components of storm water is allowed to enter a storm drainage system. The cause can be intentional, such as when someone deliberately dumps chemicals, domestic waste or trash into a storm drainage inlet. An individual or business making a physical connection to a storm sewer to dump domestic waste, laundry waters, or industrial process waste is also causing an illicit discharge.Illicit Discharges can be unintentional as well, such as leaving chemicals, lawn clippings, or pet waste in an area where storm water may come in contact.
Sometimes there is a misconception that the water that enters the storm sewers will be treated and cleaned before it reaches our creeks or river. However this is not true. Anything that enters a storm drain will go directly to the river without treatment and may cause serious environmental damage.
Even when there is not serious immediate damage from pollutants reaching the waterways, there are long lasting serious problems caused by years of continued pollution. The effects of pollution leave rivers unsuitable for aquatic life habitat, fishing, swimming and drinking water.
If you see trash on your street or in a parking lot stop and pick it up and properly dispose of it. The trash that enters the storm sewers can cause flooding due to clogging and back ups within the storm sewer. Debris that make it to the Mississippi River or other local body of water can destroy habitat, present choking or tangling hazards to wildlife, and just plain looks bad!
Call the Storm Water Hotline at 563.263.8933 to report illicit discharge!