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Illicit Discharge Elimination Program



An illicit discharge is the introduction of polluting materials into a pipe that drains to surface water or the dumping of polluting material that can impact surface water. This is a broader definition than the "classical" definition of sanitary plumbing fixtures connected to a storm sewer. The Rouge Project found there were a number of illicit discharges that were adversely impacting water quality. Examples found in the Rouge River watershed include toilets connected to storm sewers, laundry waste discharging to a drain, swimming pool backwash water discharging to a storm sewer or situations where polluting material can move over land to a storm sewer.

The monitoring data on the Rouge River suggested that illicit discharges were contributing to high bacteria counts during dry weather in several parts of the watershed. Further water quality testing found consistently high levels of fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria upstream of locations that had combined sewer overflows and in several locations where there were no municipal sanitary systems. Because of the potential threat to public health, a great deal of effort is being placed on regulating illicit discharges.

Based upon the above findings, the Rouge Project and the three counties in the watershed initiated an illicit discharge elimination program (IDEP). The focus of the program is the elimination of illegal discharges in the watershed from illicit connections, illegal dumping, and lack of awareness. The IDEP directly results in the annual removal of significant quantities of raw sewage and other pollution that pose a threat to human health and aquatic life.

Wayne County has developed a training program to assist local communities and counties in implementing their own IDEP.

Illicit Discharge Elimination Program

Last Updated: 5/9/02

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The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project is funded, in part, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants #XP995743-01, -02, -03, -04, -05, -06, -07 and C-264000-01.