Illicit Discharges

What is Illicit Discharge?  

Illicit discharge is a storm drain that has measurable flow during dry weather containing pollutants and/or pathogens. In 2003, the Borough of State College passed an ordinance that prohibited the flow or discharge of anything other than precipitation into their stormwater sewer system.  

Examples include yard waste, leaves, vehicle wash water, household hazardous waste such as paint, laundry wastewater, sanitary wastewater, effluent from septic tanks, and sediment and pollutants from construction sites.  

Reporting Illicit Discharge

You may be the first to recognize illicit discharges. Residents can help report violations or problems they notice in their local streams on city streets before more damage and pollution occurs. These discharges are typically any other flows than rainwater being directed into storm sewers or out of pipes into streams. Dry weather flows, defined as flows from stormwater outfall pipes after a 48-hour period without rain, should also be reported to your municipality for further investigation. You can report illicit discharge activity by:  

Calling the Public Works Department at (814) 234-7140 during normal business hours  Completing the Citizen Complaint Form (coming soon) and Mailing it to the 

  • Borough Engineer – 243 South Allen Street 16801  
  • OR emailing it to  

Current Authorized Discharges  

  • Discharges from firefighting  
  • Air conditioning condensate  
  • Discharge from non-contaminated water from geothermal systems  
  • Non-contaminated hydrostatic test water discharges that do not contain detectable concentrations of Total Residual Chlorine (TRC)  
  • Discharge from residential car washing to the MS4 when cleaning agents aren’t identified  
  • Non-contaminated irrigation water from agricultural sources, water from lawn maintenance, landscape drainage, and flows from riparian habitats and wetlands   
  • Non-contaminated water from crawl space pumps   

Permit Changes - Unauthorized Discharges  

  • De-chlorinated swimming pool drainage and other discharges - no longer permitted  
  • External building wash down – no longer permitted  
  • Discharges from potable water sources must not contain detectable concentrations of Total Residual Chlorine (TRC)  
  • Pavement wash waters – no longer permitted  

What are we doing to Combat Illicit Discharge?  

  • Monitoring for illegal discharge both at the source and at the storm sewer outfall  
  • Installing stormceptor systems  
  • Installing inlet filter bags
  • Street sweeping  
  • Watershed Clean Up projects  
  • Partnering with neighboring municipalities to raise awareness about the Spring Creek Watershed  

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