An illicit discharge is anything that goes “down the drain” (curb inlet, drainage ditch, directly discharged to a stream, etc.) that’s not composed entirely of stormwater. When source pollutants are introduced and mix with the stormwater, you then have an illicit discharge to the storm sewer system – which drains directly to our surface waters without treatment.
Examples of source pollutants that could cause an illicit discharge:
- Automotive fluids (oil, fuel, antifreeze)
- Landscape waste (grass clippings, etc.)
- Cooking oil and grease
- Improperly applied fertilizer
- Vehicle wash water
- Chemical cleansers (detergents, soaps)
- Sanitary sewer wastewaters
- Improperly applied pesticides/herbicides
- Dumpster leachate
- Improperly managed salts
Discharging any of these things into the City of Salem storm sewer system is a violation and you will be penalized. Any person found to be knowingly causing illicit discharges shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, liable for all costs of cleanup and disposal, and shall be subject to a civil penalty up to $1,000 per day.
The regulations do have some exemptions however, as outlined below:
Examples of sources that are not an illicit discharge.
- Fire‐fighting activities
- Air condition condensate
- Water line flushing
- Footing or foundation drains
- Landscape/lawn irrigation
- Diverted stream flows
- Water from crawl space pumps
- Rising groundwater
- Dechlorinated swimming pool wastewater
- Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration
- Discharges from potable water sources
- Uncontaminated pumped groundwater
- Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands
For more information on illicit discharges, please check out the Salem City Code Chapter 30 – Environment, Article V – Illicit Storm Sewer System Discharges by clicking here.