Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

An illicit discharge is defined as any release into the drainage system (MS4) of contaminated water, or any non-stormwater discharge that contributes pollutants to receiving waters.

Public Works conducts inspections of stormwater outfalls throughout the city as part of ongoing compliance with our Phase II permit. A city by-law (Article V, Section 26 (PDF)) provides enforcement and fining procedures for illicit discharges found within the city's MS4. Any discharge deemed a threat to public safety, public health, or the environment is in violation of this by-law and thus subject to a removal order and/or fines by the Conservation Commission, Board of Health, or Inspectional Services.

Examples of Illicit Discharges

  • Bagged pet waste
  • Direct septic connections into the storm drain system
  • Improper disposal of automobile and household products
  • Laundry wastewater
  • Leaves and other debris dumped into open drainage and stream channels
  • Overflow from septic tanks, car wash wastewater
  • Sanitary wastewater from crushed or collapsed pipes or surcharges

Exceptions (not considered illicit discharges)

  • Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges
  • Diverted stream flows
  • Foundation drains
  • Landscape irrigation
  • Potable water source discharges
  • Rising or out-breaking groundwater
  • Stormwater runoff from streets and sidewalks
  • Uncontaminated pumped groundwater (includes clean sump pump discharges)
  • Water line flushing

For more information regarding the Phase II Stormwater Management Program, email stormwater management or call 508-532-6010.