Illicit Discharges and Illegal Connections

Illicit discharges and connections 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.  For example, a home or business may have a sanitary sewer line connected to the storm system, allowing waste water from toilets and taps to discharge, untreated, into our waterways.  Washing a car or cleaning paintbrushes in the driveway or street can send suds and chemicals into the storm drains that connect to rivers and streams.  Dumping RV waste or household chemicals directly into a drain is another example of illegal activity that can harm our shared waterways.

Illicit Discharges are defined as follows:  Any direct or indirect non-stormwater discharge to Okaloosa County's MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System), and a storm drain with measurable flow during dry weather.

Illegal Connections are define as follows:  Any pipe, open channel, drain or conveyance, whether on the surface or subsurface, which allows an illicit discharge to enter the storm drain system including but not limited to any conveyances which allow any non-stormwater discharge including, sewage, process wastewater, and wash water to enter the storm drain system, regardless of whether such pipe, open channel, drain or conveyance has been previously allowed, permitted, or approved by an authorized enforcement agency; or b) Any pipe, open channel, drain or conveyance connected to Okaloosa County's separate storm sewer system which has not been documented in plans, maps, or equivalent records and approved by an authorized enforcement agency.

Both illicit discharges and illegal connections violate County Ordinance 11-16.  Violators are subject to substantial penalties as provided by Florida Statutes Chapter 162.  The Okaloosa County Code Enforcement officers are empowered to enforce the Ordinance on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners.

What Can You Do About Illicit Discharges?

You can help keep our lakes, rivers, bayous, bays, streams, wetlands, and groundwater clean by applying the following tips:

  • Sweep it. Do you have extra fertilizer, grass clippings, or dirt on your driveway or sidewalk? Sweep it back onto your lawn. Hosing your driveway sends these pollutants into storm drains that lead directly to our lakes and rivers.
  • Keep it clean. Whether in the street or in your yard, remember to keep leaves, grass clippings, trash, sand and soil, and fertilizers away from storm drains.
  • Only rain in the drain. Never dump motor oil, chemicals, pet waste, dirty or soapy water, or anything else down the storm drain.
  • Clean it. Clean up after your pet to reduce pet waste traveling to local waterways.
  • Dispose of it properly. Take household hazardous waste (paint, motor oil, etc.) to a local collection facility or event.

Report Illicit Discharges

If you see someone dumping something into a storm drain or see a direct connection to the stormwater system that may convey a pollutant you are encouraged to report it. You can do this by contacting the Okaloosa County Stormwater Division at 850-689-5772 or you can CLICK HERE and fill out a form.  Photographs can be uploaded to the form.