Boats on the Intracoastal Waterway

Illicit Discharge into Waterways

What is an illicit discharge?

An illicit discharge is any discharge into the City’s storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water or uncontaminated groundwater. Such discharges are considered “illicit” because the storm sewer system is not designed to accept, process, or discharge such non-stormwater wastes or contaminants. Illicit discharges include dumping of motor vehicle fluids, household hazardous waste, paint, grass clippings, leaf litter or animal waste. The illicit discharge may be a deliberate discharge or run- off from a contaminated site. It must be stopped in order to ensure that stormwater discharges do not pollute our waterways.

Examples of illicit discharge

  • Improper storm sanitary sewer connection
  • Intentional dumping
  • Accidental spill

What are illicit discharge signs?

  • Unusual watercolor, oily sheen, foam, suds, turbidity
  • Smell or fumes
  • Discarded drums or other containers and materials
  • Brown or dead plants around an outfall
  • Sick or dead animals around an outfall
  • Personal symptoms (burning eyes, nose or skin, nausea or headache)

What can you do to prevent illicit discharge?

To prevent illicit discharges to the stormwater system and to protect water quality, keep in mind the following rules:

  • Never dump anything in a storm drain or into a drainage ditch.
  • Clean up after your pet.
  • Throw litter in its proper place. If you see garbage near a storm drain, pick it up.
  • Properly dispose of household hazardous wastes at designated locations.
  • Regularly check your vehicles for leaks (and repair them).
  • Compost yard waste.
  • Recycle motor oil and other automotive fluids.
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides only when needed, and always follow the label instructions.
  • Wash vehicles in the yard, not on pavement. Better yet, take your car to a carwash, where all wastewater flows into the sanitary sewer system.
  • Report illegal dumping immediately to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission at

Reporting illicit discharge and illegal dumping

Report illegal dumping in our waterways to 305.792.1817.