March 20, 2024

What is an illicit discharge? – How do I recognize one?

Deliberatgly dumping illicit discahrges

  • This kind of discharge is sporadic; often occurring at night or on weekends, when the person involved thinks nobody is looking.
  • This kind of discharge is not predictable, and as a result is hard to sample for gathering evidence.
  • This kind of discharge could be toxic since it is often done by businesses trying to get rid of waste without having to do it properly. As a result, you really need to avoid coming in contact with it, or even breathing fumes if it is volatile.
  • Often we need to make a quick decision to respond to this kind of event. If you see it actually occurring, it needs to be reported immediately so proper action can be taken. Later, after it has already happened, it may be too late; the damage may have already been done.

It is likely you will not observe this directly, because the people doing it purposely try to do it when they will not be seen. This is not always the case, however; some people just do not realize that the storm sewer carries water to lakes and the bay – they think it goes to the treatment plant. Dumping may not consist of a person emptying a bucket or a drum of waste. It might be a tank truck draining its contents through a hose into a manhole. Sometimes this is legal, septic tank cleaning people may have a permit allowing them to discharge to the sanitary sewer system through a manhole.