Illicit Discharge

Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

The City is tasked with detecting and eliminating illicit discharges into the storm sewer system. An illicit discharge is the discharge of pollutants to the storm water drainage system via overland flow or direct discharge of materials into a storm drain. Illicit discharges can vary from the direct connection of a laundry machine into the storm sewer system to the blowing of grass clippings into the street, gutter, or a storm sewer inlet. Only rain belongs down the drain!

Dry Weather Screening

To help combat illicit discharges, the City performs "Dry Weather Screening" during the spring and summer months. The screening consists of randomly selecting 75 storm drainage structures. Technicians check the selected sites for flow. If detected, flows are sampled and tested for both quantitative and qualitative data.

Quantitative Data                                           Qualitative Data

Chlorine concentration                                    Odor

Copper concentration                                      Oil sheen

Concentration of detergents                            Surface Scum

Phenol concentration                                      Color

pH level                                                           Turbidity

Flow rate                                                         Surrounding vegetation

Temperature                                                    Condition of the structure

Following the initial detection and testing of flow, sites are rescreened between 4 and 24 hours later to confirm the initial test results. If any of these re-tests display results outside of the acceptable parameters, a sample is collected and sent to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s Central Environmental Laboratory for additional testing to confirm the in-field data. The goal is to identify the source of the flow and address the problem accordingly. Residents are often our most reliable sources of information so if you see an illicit discharge, report it at 757-393-8592.

Department Office Hours

Normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. To report an illicit discharge after hours, please contact the Department of Environmental Quality’s 24 hour hotline at 1-800-522-0206.


Hot Spots

“Hot spots” are locations where complaints overlap with multiple layers in GIS (industrial/commercial corridors, flood zones, problematic drainage basins, etc.) indicating possible stormwater issues. Facilities within these hot spot areas may be selected for additional inspections and educational materials in an effort to reduce illicit discharges.