Illicit Discharge Hotline - Storm Drain Dan

Storm Drain Dan

HELLO! My name is Storm Drain Dan. I'm the mascot for a cooperative effort between Spokane County, the City of Spokane, and the City of Spokane Valley, to identify and eliminate illicit discharges that could affect our drinking water.

My purpose is to encourage everyone to take responsibility for ensuring that nothing other than stormwater gets into our storm drains. Remember, You Are The Solution to Stormwater Pollution!

What is an illicit discharge?

An illicit discharge is the disposal, release or flow of pollutants or non-stormwater materials to the stormwater drainage system.  The result is untreated discharges that contribute high levels of pollutants, including bacteria, heavy metals, toxins, oils and grease, solvents, and nutrients to water bodies, like the Spokane Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, and our rivers and lakes.

 

Is stormwater treated at a treatment plant?

Stormwater systems are often confused with sanitary sewer systems, but they are two completely different things.  In Spokane County and the City of Spokane Valley, there is a separate sanitary sewer system.  Flows to the sanitary sewer system (e.g., flushing toilets, shower drains, kitchen sink drains, etc.) are treated at the City of Spokane Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Spokane County Regional Water Reclamation Facility.

Flows to the stormwater system (through storm drains, catch basins, drywells, grassed infiltration swales, and infiltration ponds) infiltrate directly into the ground and may ultimately recharge the Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, our sole source of drinking water in our region.

 

Where do illicit discharges come from?

Some illicit discharges are the direct result of human activity—someone dumping dog waste, oil, or leaves down a catch basin.  Others are less obvious.  Old pipes are prone to leaking, and some of the leaks make their way into the storm water drain pipes and into our rivers.  Old building sewers, particularly basement plumbing and floor drains, may have been inadvertently connected to a stormwater drain pipe instead of a sewer pipe or may themselves be leaky, too.

 

How do I report an illicit discharge?

To report an illicit discharge, contact the Spokane County Stormwater Utility via its Illicit Discharge Hotline.  The number is (509)477-7525.  Many environmental problems can be resolved as a result of these investigations.  Have the following information available:
 

  • Name and contact information (if you would like a follow-up call)
  • Location of the incident
  • When you witnessed the incident (date and time)
  • What materials were involved in the incident

Please report:

  • Water coming from pipe outlets that looks oily, frothy, or discolored.
  • Signs of recent spills of materials such as oil, paint, etc., near a catch basin.
  • Someone pouring or sweeping anything down a storm drain (oil, paint, cleaning materials, litter, grass clippings, etc.).

What is Spokane County doing about illicit discharges?

Spokane County Code, Title 9, Chapter 9.14 – Roads, Approach and Drainage in New Construction is the County’s ordinance relating to illicit discharges and includes provisions for enforcement.

In March, 2010, Spokane County published an Illicit Discharge and Detection Elimination Guidance Manual that outlines the County’s minimum control measures for dealing with illicit discharges.

IDDE Progress Reports are prepared and submitted annually to the State of Washington.  The reports include summaries of all investigations of illicit discharges and what steps were taken to resolve the problems.

More Information
For more information on illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE), review the Spokane County IDDE Guidance Manual (PDF).