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Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

Discharges to the municipal separate storm sewer system that are not composed entirely of stormwater runoff contribute to increased nonpoint source pollution and degradation of receiving waters. These non-stormwater discharges occur due to spills, dumping, and improper connections to the municipal separate storm sewer system from residential, industrial, commercial, and/or institutional establishments. These non-stormwater discharges not only impact waterways individually, but geographically dispersed, small volume non-stormwater discharges can have cumulative impacts on receiving waters. The impacts of these discharges adversely affect public health and safety, drinking water supplies, recreation, fish and other aquatic life, property values, and other uses of lands and waters.

These impacts can be minimized through the regulation of spills, dumping, and discharges into the municipal separate storm sewer system. The City of Austell is required to comply with a number of State and Federal laws, regulations, and permits which require Stormwater Management staff to address the impacts of stormwater runoff quality and non-point source pollution due to improper non-stormwater discharges to the municipal separate storm sewer system.

On July 12, 1993, the City of Austell adopted its Stormwater Management ordinance, which addresses the above legal authority and the need to inspect all drainage facilities and to actively regulate discharges of pollutants. The ordinance is updated as needed to reflect new rules and regulations.

The City of Austell has adopted a new Illicit Discharge and Illegal Connection Ordinance, effective March 1, 2004, for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety, environment, and general welfare. This ordinance establishes methods for controlling the introduction of pollutants into the municipal separate storm sewer system in order to comply with the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit process.

Ongoing Illicit Connection Screening Activities

The Austell Public Works Stormwater Management Division has implemented an effective program for detection of point and non-point source pollutant releases, including illicit connections to the stormwater system. The detection program combines:

a. Investigation of all reported releases received in the normal course of system operation and maintenance.

b. Dry-weather screening of both known and new outfalls.

  1. Locate Standard Industrial Classification industries.
  2. Inspection of Standard Industrial Classification industries.
  3. Inspect highly visible pollutant sources.

When dry weather screenings are done, previously identified outfalls are re-evaluated to insure that:

  1. There are no outfalls downstream of each other.
  2. The outfalls are not located in waters of the State.
  3. The outfalls are part of the City of Austell maintained system.

What is Dry Weather Screening?

Dry weather screening is a field areas activity performed to help locate and identify harmful and illegal discharges to a municipal storm water system. The field activity (screening) involves inspecting stormdrain outfalls during dry weather and testing flowing water discharges from the outfall to detect water quality problems in any urban waterway.

The field observations and measurements are performed at each outfall. Those outfalls can consist of pipes, headwalls, ditches and flumes. These outfalls can be located in city's right-of-way or in a drainage easement. The screenings help to detect pollutants such as oil and grease, litter, heavy metals, and sediment. Water quality sampling is used to detect fluoride and surfactants (detergents) that can be found in an illicit discharge due to wash water and tap water.

Investigating for dry weather flow is also an opportunity to identify illegal structures that maybe connected to the municipal separate storm sewer system. An illegal connection can cause serious problems to our water resources by discharging pollutants into the storm sewer system that can go undetected for days, months and years. 


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