Car oil, household hazardous waste, and failing septic tanks are just a few of the many contaminants that can pollute our rivers. Any material that is not stormwater that enters a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4)- such as a storm drain, pipe, or ditch- is defined as an illicit discharge. Illicit discharges happen in many ways but can be detected when a storm drain or ditch is wet or actively releasing fluids, even when there was no recent rain event. Sometimes, a discharger is unknowingly releasing pollution into MS4s. Other times, individuals purposefully dispose of materials down storm drains or attach plumbing to storm sewers- an action that not only harms water quality but is also illegal!
How can you help to limit discharges from entering our waterways? Due to the nature of illicit discharge, there are numerous ways you can make a difference! Here is a list of our favorites!
- Wash your car on your lawn or at a car wash. Avoid parking lot or driveway car washing opportunities
- Properly maintain your vehicle and dispose of materials correctly
- Routinely maintain your septic system to ensure that it is working properly
- Correctly dispose of household hazardous waste
- Drain pools and spas in the proper way
To help protect water quality, please report any suspicious outfalls in Allen County by filling out the Report-A-Polluter Form. By filling out a form for any concerning storm drain, pipe, or ditch, you are proactively protecting the health of our rivers for future generations!