Volunteer monitors, citizens, and anyone who recreates or works around waterbodies are likely to have seen something strange but didn’t know what it was or why it was there.
What is an illicit discharge?
An illicit discharge is the discharge or placement of anything other than stormwater into the storm sewer system. Illicit discharge detection and elimination are one of the “five minimum control measures” required by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) in the City of Opelika’s stormwater permit. Other measures include public education, construction site runoff control, post construction stormwater management, and pollution prevention.
It’s important to note that many cities, like the City of Opelika, have a municipal separate storm sewer system, or MS4. In these systems, unlike in a combined sewer system, there is not a treatment process between the source of the stormwater and when the water enters a waterbody.