Illicit Discharges - Reporting Stormwater Pollution

Illicit Discharges

An illicit discharge is an unlawful act of disposing, dumping, or any discharge of any substance other than stormwater into the storm drain system. The storm drain system consists of catch basins, yard inlets, and the street gutters that drain stormwater to them.

Examples of illicit discharges include:

  • Paint, old fuel, or other household chemicals poured into or near a storm drain;
  • Changing engine oil or antifreeze without a containment system for collecting the fluid before it hits the street and gutter;
  • Discarding yard waste, e.g. leaves, brush, and grass clippings in or near a storm drain or drainage ditch
  • Draining chlorinated swimming pool water in or near a storm drain or drainage ditch

Illicit Connections

An illicit connection is an unlawful connection of a pipe or other direct connection to the storm drain system, drainage ditch, or any water feature that allows the discharge of non-stormwater to the system or a stream, pond, lake, or river.

Examples of illicit connections include:

  • Floor drains going into the storm drain system
  • Wash water from residential washing machines, laundromats, or car washes connected to a storm drain system or ditch
  • Sewer service pipe connected into a storm structure or emptying into a stream.

See the City’s ordinance prohibiting illicit discharges: City Code Chapter 31- Sewers and Sewage Disposal, Article I and Article VI

The Stormwater Program’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program Manual (PDF) identifies the protocols used by Inspectors to identify, investigate, and eliminate illicit discharges.

Reporting Stormwater Pollution

If you see something other than stormwater going into the drainage system or into a stream, or if you see something and are not sure what it is, i.e., flowing water when there hasn’t been any rain, you should contact the City’s Public Works Department.

  1. Where: The location of the incident. In order for the City to investigate we need to know where the problem is.
  2. When: The sooner an incident is reported the greater the likelihood that an environmentally protective response can be made.
  3. What: If you know what was released and how much, that can help determine the type of investigation needed.
  4. Who: If you know the source of the problem or the company/individual causing the problem, please give us that information.

Report a Chemical, Fuel Spill or Other Emergency Situation

To report a chemical or fuel spill or other emergency situation, contact Hopewell Fire Department or Police Department by calling 911.

Report Water Pollution or Illicit Discharges

To report water pollution or illicit discharges, contact the Hopewell Department of Public Works, Stormwater Division by calling 804-541-2295

Report Spills or Water Pollution Outside the City

To report spills or water pollution outside the City:

  • Normal work hours: Call Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Pollution Response Program (PREP) at 804-527-5020
  • Nights, holidays, and weekends: Call the Department of Emergency Management’s (DEM), 24-hour reporting number at 800-468-8892

Preventing Stormwater Pollution

The best way to prevent common illicit discharges is to implement pollution prevention and good housekeeping practices. The Stormwater Program’s Public Education & Outreach Program specifically targets these preventive initiatives in outreach to citizens. The Department of Public Works personnel are trained to implement these preventive practices within their daily job duties.

View the Stormwater Program’s Pollution Prevention program manual (PDF) can be found here.