What is an Illicit Discharge?

An illicit (illegal) discharge is any discharge to a municipal storm sewer system, including storm drains, pipes, and ditches, that is not composed entirely of stormwater. Pollutants end up in storm sewer systems in a number of ways, many of which are easily preventable. In some instances, companies or residences have waste pipes tapped into stormwater pipes. In other cases, individuals use the storm drain inlets or waterways to dispose of various types of waste. Disposal of anything other than stormwater in storm sewers is illegal.

Examples of Illicit Discharges

  • Septic Tank Seepage / Illegal Sanitary Connections
  • Laundry Wastewater / Detergent
  • Improper Waste Oil Disposal / Auto Fluids Flushing
  • Home Improvement Waste (e.g. concrete, paint)
  • Pesticides and Fertilizers
  • Improper Disposal of Hazardous Waste
  • Pool / Spa Discharge
  • Cooking Grease / Household Waste

Signs of an Illicit Discharge

The point in a storm sewer system where it empties into a body of water is a storm sewer outfall. It may be a pipe or ditch. If the outfall is flowing when there has been no recent rainfall, this may indicate an illicit discharge. Visible sewage waste, foul odor, suds or other evidence of contamination, are indicators that an illicit discharge is contaminating the storm sewer.

What should you do?

If you suspect that there is an illicit discharge, use the links on the right side of the page to report it to the proper city, state, or county authorities.

ATTENTION: These sites are not monitored 24 hours, 7 days per week and are not intended for urgent needs.

To report stormwater issues within the unincorporated area of Etowah County, related to drainage problems such as flooding or washouts along roads, driveway pipes or cross drains, select the link below.


To report issues related to water quality such as an illicit discharge, within the unincorporated area of Etowah County limits, select the link below.


To report stormwater issues that are within one of the local cities or towns, select the appropriate link below.

City of Attalla
City of Gadsden
City of Glencoe
City of Hokes Bluff
City of Rainbow City
City of Southside

To report a stormwater issue along a State Highway (Hwy 59, Hwy 77, Hwy 411, Hwy 431)