Illicit Discharges

What is an illicit discharge?

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge to the City's storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of stormwater, except for discharges of uncontaminated industrial wastewater (ex. non-contact cooling water).  Illicit discharges are illegal based on local ordinance (i.e. City Ordinance 1020.1) and both federal and state law.

What is the main cause of an illicit discharge?

Many illicit discharges occur due to illegal, piped connections to the storm drain system from commercial, residential, and other establishments.  In addition, illicit discharges can occur from spills of polluting materials onto paved surfaces or from spills directly into yard drains or street catch basin drains.

What does an illicit discharge do?

Illicit discharges and dumping allow contaminated wastewater into our local waterways without receiving any treatment.  Such activities may be intentional, but also may be unknown to the property owner.  

Examples of illicit discharge or dumping:

  • Failing septic systems
  • Improper disposal of sewage from recreational vehicles
  • Illicit connections of sanitary sewer lines to the storm sewer system
  • Cleaning of pool filters, paint brushes, and vehicles in a driveway or street

How can you get involved?

Please help us protect the Grand and Red Cedar watersheds by reporting illicit discharges and dumping into City stormwater sewer systems.

To report, contact:
  • The City of Lansing's Depart of Public Service at: (517) 483-4455
  • The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Pollution Emergency Alerting System (PEAS) at: (800) 292-4706.
For more information on illicit discharges, visit the Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management (GLRC).