Illicit Discharge Elimination

Illicit Discharge Elimination

The goal of the Illicit Discharge Elimination Program (IDEP) is to identify and eliminate sources of E. coli bacteria by collecting and testing water samples from our creeks, streams, rivers, road ditches, and drains. Continue reading below for frequently asked questions or download our informational brochure.

What is an Illicit Discharge?
An illicit discharge is the release of wastewater or pollution entering a storm drain, waterway or ditch, such as:

• Failing septic systems
• Illegal dumping of oil or grass clippings
• Washing machine and dish washing water
• Sanitary sewer connected to a storm drain system
• Commercial or industrial chemical discharge, disposal or dumping

Why are illicit discharges a problem?
Illicit discharges contaminate our water with chemicals, diseases, and bacteria that harm fish, wildlife, and people. Many children like to play in small creeks and streams where illicit discharges often begin and the public swims at beaches where illicit discharges may accumulate. Discharges are most problematic during and after a rainstorm, commonly leading to summertime beach or waterway closures.

How is the City of Durand finding illicit discharges?
The City of Durand performs regular inspections of our public water systems to check for illicit discharge. If a suspicious problem is discovered, our IDEP program employees photograph it, take a GPS point, and test for E. coli., detergents, and fecal matter. Once the source of the problem is pinpointed, the responsible party is notified as to what actions they need to take in order to correct the problem.

One way of testing for illicit discharge is to perform a "smoke test". This allows the City to uncover potential inflows or infiltrations in the public portion of the sanitary storm sewer. When performing this test residents and businesses may notice smoke in or around their yard or home. Please read more about this test to learn about safety and response procedures if you see smoke.

Who is responsible for correction of illicit discharges?
Responsibility for fixing illicit discharges may fall upon a city or township, the county, or a resident or property owner. The City of Durand has the responsibility and authority to ensure that corrections are made through the Environmental Health Code and the Drain Code, which make these discharges illegal.

See the photographs below for examples of illicit discharges (failing septic systems, grass clippings, leaves, oil, etc.) identified by our IDEP teams.

Soapy water

Grass clippings