Illicit Discharge

An illicit discharge is anything that goes "down the drain" (curb inlet, drainage ditch, directly discharged to a stream, etc.) that's not composed entirely of stormwater. When source pollutants are introduced and mix with the stormwater, you then have an illicit discharge to the storm sewer system - which drains directly to our surface waters without treatment.

Examples of source pollutants that could cause an illicit discharge:

  • Automotive fluids (oil, fuel, antifreeze)
  • Landscape waste (grass clippings, etc.)
  • Cooking oil and grease
  • Improperly applied fertilizer
  • Solvents
  • Sediment
  • Paints
  • Vehicle wash water
  • Chemical cleansers (detergents, soaps)
  • Sanitary sewer wastewaters
  • Improperly applied pesticides/herbicides
  • Dumpster leachate
  • Improperly managed salts
  • Trash

Discharging any of these things into the City of Salem storm sewer system is a violation and you will be penalized. Any person found to be knowingly causing illicit discharges shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, liable for all costs of cleanup and disposal, and shall be subject to a civil penalty up to $1,000 per day.

The regulations do have some exemptions, however. Examples of sources that are not an illicit discharge:

  • Fire‐fighting activities
  • Air condition condensate
  • Water line flushing
  • Footing or foundation drains
  • Landscape/lawn irrigation
  • Springs
  • Diverted stream flows
  • Water from crawl space pumps
  • Rising groundwater
  • Dechlorinated swimming pool wastewater
  • Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration
  • Discharges from potable water sources
  • Uncontaminated pumped groundwater
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands

For more information on illicit discharges, please check out the Salem City Code Chapter 30 - Environment, Article V - Illicit Storm Sewer System Discharges.