Mary Esther Illicit Discharge Elimination Program
By definition, an illicit discharge is any discharge to a municipal separate stormwater sewer system that is not composed entirely of stormwater. Discharge of chemicals, sediment, trash, chlorinated swimming pool water, etc. into the stormwater system are direct violations of the illicit discharge ordinance whether the discharge was intentional or not. Fines for violation of the City’s stormwater ordinance can range up to $5,000.00 for irreparable offenses. Having knowledge of and failing to report an illicit discharge can also land you in hot water as you are required to immediately take action to abate the discharge and notify the City within 24 hours and provide a written report within 72 hours.
- Illicit Discharge: Any discharge (or seepage) to the separate storm water drainage system that is not composed entirely of storm water or uncontaminated groundwater.
- Illicit Connection: A physical connection to a separate storm water drainage system that primarily conveys illicit discharges into the system and/or is not authorized or permitted by the local authority.
- Point Source Discharge Pollution: Pollution from a single identifiable source.
- Non-Point Source Discharge Pollution: Pollution that washes from roofs, streets, yards, driveways, sidewalks, and other land areas into water bodies.
- Pollution: Contamination of the air, water, or soil by the addition of harmful substances
Illicit Discharge Program
As part of the City’s Illicit Discharge Elimination Program, City employees are trained and educated to identify illicit connections and discharges to the stormwater drainage system. The most common warning signs of illicit discharges are dry weather flow, suds, sewage, oil and gas. Employees regularly conduct inspections of the stormwater system, construction sites, businesses and residential homes to verify compliance with the NPDES and IDEP.
Types of Illicit Discharge
There are two types of illicit discharge contributors: Point source discharges (PSD) and non-point source discharges (NPSD). A PSD is characterized as a single identifiable source such as a commercial dumpster leaching chemicals or a discharge pipe releasing waste. A non-point source discharge (NPSD) is a source of pollution that washes from roofs, streets, yards, driveway, sidewalks, and other land areas into water bodies.
To eliminate discharges introduced into the City’s lake, streams, ponds, sound, and waterways that make up the stormwater infrastructure that are harmful to both people and the environment by public outreach, ordinance enforcement, and best management practices.
The program focuses on the elimination of improper connections to the storm water system, elimination of illegal dumping into storm sewers, illicit discharges, environmental hazards, procedures, inspections, reports, warning signs, and minimizing the amount of seepage into the storm water system from the sanitary sewer system and septic systems.
Inspections are performed on a regular basis in a manner approved by the Department. The Maintenance Department conducts regular inspections of the stormwater system when checking ditches, ponds, drains and grates for debris. Any findings that may be a violation are reported to the Code Enforcement, Planning and Zoning Department.
The Code Enforcement, Planning and Zoning Department conduct both pro-active and re-active inspections of stormwater discharges and specifically look for possible violations. Inspections take place during rain events and dry weather events.