What does “illicit discharge” mean?

Illicit discharge means waste and wastewater from non-rainwater sources entering a stormwater system (such as into a catch basin, open ditch, stream, pond, ocean, or detention basin).

A study conducted in Sacramento, California, found that almost one-half of the water discharged from local stormwater systems was not directly attributable to rainwater runoff. A significant portion of these flows were from illicit discharge or inappropriate discharges to the stormwater system. The result is untreated discharges that contribute high levels of pollutants, including heavy metals, toxics, oil and grease, solvents, nutrients, viruses, and bacteria to receiving water bodies. Pollutant levels from these illicit discharges have been shown in EPA studies to be high enough to significantly degrade receiving water quality and threaten aquatic habitat, wildlife, and human health.

What is defined by an “illicit discharge” into the stormwater system?

As defined by the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, an illicit discharge would be a spill, dumping or disposal of materials including, but not limited to, residential, industrial and commercial waste, trash, used motor vehicle fluids, pesticides, fertilizers, food preparation waste, leaf litter, grass clippings, and animal wastes into any portions of a stormwater system.

Who do I contact and what to report when witnessing a suspected illicit discharge?

When witnessing a suspected illicit discharge, a citizen should contact the East Lyme, Public Works Department at PublicWorks@eltownhall.com and report the date, time, location and if any suspicious color, odor, etc.

What will happen next?

Upon receiving a suspected illicit discharge report, the Town of East Lyme acting as legal authority will promptly investigate reported location and act as according to the IDDE (Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination) Program. A copy of an inspection report will be sent to the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and appropriate agencies. For any health hazards, Ledge Light Health District will be notified for follow up and enforcement with the CT Public Health Code.

Why are we doing this?

Illicit discharge citizen reporting is required in accordance with the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4 General Permit) Issued January 20, 2016, and Effective July 1, 2017.