Illicit discharges cause water pollution by sending pollutants right into streams and ponds. Be sure you know what illicit discharges are so you can help prevent water pollution and keep our streams clean!
Reporting Illicit Discharges:
Prevent water pollution. If you believe you have seen an illicit discharge email the Engineering Department to report an illicit discharge or any type of water pollution in our streams or stormwater inlets. In case of emergencies, call 911.
Answers to common questions about illicit discharges:
1. What is an illicit discharge?
An illicit discharge is an unlawful act of disposing, dumping, spilling, emitting, or other discharge of any substance other than stormwater into the stormwater drainage system. The stormwater drainage system includes streets, ditches, catch basins, yard inlets, ponds, and streams. Below are some examples of illicit discharges:
1. Paint being poured into or near the storm drainage system
2. Changing oil or antifreeze over or near a storm structure
3. Washing vehicles where the runoff could drain into the storm drainage system.
4. Washing dumpster pads and allowing the runoff to drain into the storm drainage system
2. What information should be reported when emailing an illicit discharge?
What time did you see the discharge? It is important that illicit discharges are reported immediately so the person(s) responsible can be found and the discharge can be cleaned up and corrected as soon as possible. We want to respond as quickly as possible to prevent pollution to our environment.
Where did you see the discharge? Please give us an address, intersection, business name, or landmark to help us quickly find the illicit discharge.
What do you think the discharge is? Please let us know if you think it was a paint spill, oil spill, sewer leak, or another type of illicit discharge.
Was there a business involved? Please tell us the name of the business involved to help us eliminate the discharge as quickly as possible and provide enforcement action when needed.
3. Is yard waste considered an illicit discharge?
Large amounts of yard waste can actually become harmful to our streams and creeks. Dumping yard waste into the storm drainage system can be considered a violation of Cromwell's Illicit Discharge Ordinance. However, if residents are collecting leaves together along their curb line for the seasonal leaf collection program, this is an exception.
4. Where can used motor oil be thrown away?
When residents change their motor oil and perform other maintenance on their vehicles, none of that waste should be dumped into a storm drain because that is an illicit discharge and causes water pollution. Used motor oil can be taken to any auto parts store and their staff will take care of the used motor oil for you. The auto parts stores can accept motor oil in containers holding up to five gallons of motor oil. Cromwell resident's can also bring their used motor oil to the Cromwell Transfer Station.
5. Is water from swimming pools considered an illicit discharge?
Backwash and discharges from swimming pools are listed as exceptions from the Illicit Discharge Ordinance, provided the water does not have a harmful impact on the environment. If the swimming pool water has chlorine in it (e.g. if it was recently "shocked" before draining), then that water can be extremely harmful to aquatic life in Cromwell's streams and this will be considered an illicit discharge. Violators discharging chlorinated pool water that has a harmful affect on the environment will be held responsible for their actions.
6. Are there some things that aren't illicit discharges?
There are some exceptions to the Illicit Discharge Ordinance. Below are examples of exceptions:
1. Air conditioning condensate
2. Fire fighting runoff
3. Nonprofit car washing, including charity car washes and residential car washing
4. Groundwater discharges from sump pumps
7. What is an illicit connection?
An illicit connection is an unlawful connection from the sanitary sewer system into the stormwater drainage system or directly into lakes and streams. Below are some examples of Illicit Connections:
1. Floor drains from inside a building going into the storm drain system instead of the sanitary sewer system
2. Providing a washing machine connection into a ditch or storm drain structure instead of the sanitary sewer system.
3. Installing a new plumbing line from a toilet into a stormwater drainage structure instead of the sanitary sewer system
Informative Fact Sheets everyone should know:
A homeowner's Guide to Septic Systems, A Series for Clean Water
Storm Drain Stenciling Fact Sheet
Car Care for Cleaner Water Fact Sheet
Better Homes and Groundwater - A Homeowner's Guide
When it Rains, It Pollutes
Protecting Ground Water from Urban Runoff
Clean Water Starts With You
Pet Waste and Water Quality
Cleaning Up Stormwater Runoff
Do Not Feed Waterfowl