Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge to the MS4 that is not composed entirely of storm water with some exceptions. Illicit discharges enter the system through either direct connections, such as wastewater piping (whether mistakenly or deliberately connected to the storm drains) or indirect connections such as spills that reach storm inlets, or paint or used oil dumped directly into the curb inlet. The result is untreated discharges that contribute high levels of pollutants in the lakes and streams, and ultimately degrade water quality. Listed below are some of the prohibited and permissible discharges as well as the sources and the signs of illicit discharges

Prohibited and Permissible Discharges

The prohibited discharges are considered “illicit” because MS4s are not designed to accept, process, or discharge such non-storm water wastes.

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
  • Used oil

Permissible Discharges

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

Sources of Illicit Discharges

  • Sanitary Wastewater
  • Effluent from septic tanks
  • Car wash wastewaters
  • Improper oil disposal
  • Radiator flushing disposal
  • Laundry wastewaters
  • Spills from roadway accidents
  • Improper disposal of auto and household toxics

Indications of Illicit Discharges to the Storm Sewer System

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

Outfall Inspection Program

The Papillion Creek Watershed Partnership initiated an outfall inspection program in the summer of 2005. Pipes of 36 inches or greater or 12 inches or greater in industrial areas are now mapped on a computerized map and inspected for evidence of illicit discharges. Action will be taken to terminate any illicit discharges found.

Report Illicit Discharges and/or Storm Water Concerns

The Partnership has established a hotline to report and receive information regarding illicit discharges and other stormwater related concerns. Call us at (402) 444-3908 to report discharge and storm water concerns. Reports may also be made electronically.