Illicit Discharges

2018 IDDE Program Summary

In 2018, the City of Johns Creek screened over 330 stormwater outfalls during dry weather to detect the possible presence of illicit discharges in the stormwater collection and conveyance system.  Using our quick screening tool, City staff can quickly identify and document flows in pipes when there should be no flow.  The source of these flows is then identified and characterized.  The presence of fecal coliforms (a tracer bacteria for human waste), fluoride (found mainly in drinking water), and/or surfactants (detergents) in dry weather flows indicate the presence of illicit discharges.  Although flow was found in approximately 1% of the outfalls during dry weather in 2018, no Illicit discharges were identified.  In all cases, the dry weather flow was identified as groundwater flow.

What is an illicit discharge? 

An illicit discharge is a discharge of pollutants or non-stormwater materials such as sanitary wastes, yard debris and auto fluids into a stormwater drainage system.

Why is an illicit discharge a problem? 

The stormwater system (catch basins, drains, channels, streams, etc.) in the City of Johns Creek is separate from the sanitary sewer system, which means stormwater runoff is not treated before it empties into local water bodies. Dumping anything other than stormwater into a stormdrain allows these pollutants to enter lakes and streams, causing public health concerns, harm to wildlife, and unpleasant odors or color.

Types of illicit discharges 

Non-stormwater discharges include: sanitary wastewater, paint, herbicides, pesticides, yard waste, automotive fluids, soaps, roadway accident spills, concrete washout water, and sediment.

What is Johns Creek doing to prevent illicit discharges? 

The City adopted an Illicit Discharge and Illegal Connection Ordinance in 2006 that establishes fines for illegal discharges. In addition, the City inspects stormwater outfalls annually. The City also has an active stormdrain marking program that educates the public about the stormwater system, pollutants, and illicit discharges.

How can you help?

  • Never dump anything down a stormdrain.
  • Dispose of yard and pet waste properly.
  • Avoid excess use of lawn fertilizers.
  • Wash your car on your lawn or at a car wash facility.
  • Make sure sanitary, laundry, carwash, and industrial wastewaters do not drain to a storm sewer.
  • Be aware of stormdrains that have flow during dry conditions, and report flows that have noticeable odor, discoloration, or oily sheen.

Report a problem:

  • Report any concerns, suspicious activity or incidents of illegal dumping to the City of Johns Creek at 678-512-3200 or Report a Problem here.