Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

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Our Stormwater Permit requires us to find and eliminate “illicit discharges.” The City’s Stormwater Program Ordinance defines “illicit discharges,” prohibits them, and provides for enforcement options to eliminate them.

The Ordinance defines an illicit discharge as any discharge not composed entirely of stormwater runoff unless otherwise allowed. Some allowable discharges include foundation drains, landscape watering, air conditioning condensate, water used for street sweeping, and runoff from fire fighting activities. Most other discharges to the stormwater system are prohibited.

Residential car washing and car washes for charities lasting two days or less are allowed.  However, commercial car washing which runs off to a stream, ditch, catch basin, gutter, or any other type of stormwater conveyance is prohibited.

This part of our permit also requires us to notify and educate “hot spots.” These are locations such as restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, auto repair shops, and other places which pose a higher risk of stormwater pollution due to the nature of their operations. In April 2011, the City mailed notices to over 400 businesses who may qualify as a “hot spot.”

Being designated as a hot spot does  not mean that the business is not operating properly or is violating any rules or ordinances. It simply means that there is a greater potential for pollution at the site. There are no additional fees or permits. However, our permit requires us to provide education to hot spots and to inspect stormwater drains in the area of hot spots to insure that no illicit discharges are occurring.  

Call our Stormwater Hotline at 423-585-4658 or e-mail us at to report a suspected illicit discharge. Call us at the Contacts above with other questions about illicit discharges and hot spots.