Illicit Discharge Detection

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Illegal Connection / Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

The focus of the illicit discharge detection and elimination program is to detect and eliminate illicit discharges, including spills and illegal dumping. In addition, the City must identify and address significant contributors of pollutants to the MS4, implement appropriate enforcement procedures and actions, and develop a storm sewer system inventory and overall map showing all outfalls and associated conveyances. The final program goal is to inform employees, businesses, and the general public of hazards associated with illegal discharges, illegal connections to storm drains, and improper disposal of waste.

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The City developed and adopted an ordinance to prohibit illegal connections and illicit discharges to the storm sewer system, which is included in the City’s Municipal Code, Chapter 15.16, adopted in 1997.

Illicit discharges enter the system through either direct connections (e.g., wastewater piping either mistakenly or deliberately connected to the storm drains) or indirect connections (e.g., infiltration into the MS4 from cracked sanitary systems, spills collected by drain outlets, or paint or used oil dumped directly into a drain). The result is untreated discharges that contribute high levels of pollutants, including heavy metals, toxics, oil and grease, solvents, nutrients, viruses, and bacteria to receiving waterbodies. Pollutant levels from these illicit discharges have been shown in EPA studies to be high enough to significantly degrade receiving water quality and threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health.