Illicit Discharge, Detection, & Elimination (IDDE)

What is IDDE?
IDDE stands for Illicit Discharge, Detention, and Elimination. The Code of Virginia (9VAC25-870-10) defines an illicit discharge as “…any discharge to a MS4 that is not composed entirely of stormwater, except discharges pursuant to a separate VPDES or state permit (other than the state permit for discharges from the municipal separate storm sewer), discharges resulting from firefighting activities, and discharges identified by and in compliance with 9VAC25-870-400 D 2 c (3).”

Basically anything besides general rain water, and the other approved discharges, going into the storm drain system would be considered an illicit discharge. Identifying and preventing these discharges is critical to protecting water quality within the county.

Why is IDDE Important?
The storm sewer system is connected directly to our natural waterways. Anything put into a storm drain can be quickly conveyed to the County’s streams, lakes and rivers. Stormwater is not treated by the County’s wastewater plants, therefore, protection and consideration for storm infrastructure within the County is a critical component of meeting water quality standards and requirements.

How can you help?
If you observe/suspect an illicit discharge is occurring or has occurred, please contact Stafford County’s Environmental Division at (540) 658-8830 to report.

Please be prepared to provide the following information:

  1. Date of discharge first observed
  2. Suspected source of discharge
  3. Location/address of discharge
  4. Description of discharge

Once reported, an investigation will occur into the suspected discharge.
*If the spill is hazardous, please immediately call 911.*

Containing a spill
The best way to contain a spill is to prevent one from happening. If a spill has occurred, follow these steps to help contain it before it reaches the storm drain:

  1. Survey the area and ensure it is safe to proceed with containment. IF THE SPILL IS HAZARDOUS do not attempt to clean up on your own. PLEASE IMMEDIATELY CALL 911.
  2. If safe to proceed, use absorbent materials to soak up the spill (such as cat litter) & use impermeable materials to contain it (like a plastic barrier).
  3. Dispose of the materials used properly. A list of hazardous waste that is accepted at the Stafford Landfill can be found here.
  4. If the spill cannot be contained/cleaned up before reaching the storm drain, contact the Environmental Division

What to look out for

Signs that an Illicit Discharge has occured
  • There's a color or sheen present
  • There is a smell
  • The water is foaming
  • Other unnatural appearances
This photo shows some grass submerged in water with an oily sheen -- a sign of an illicit discharge  A plant is submerged in water with an oily-like sheen
This photo shows stained concrete from an illicit discharge This patch of concrete has been stained by an illicit discharge
This photo shows stained asphalt from an illicit discharge This patch of asphalt has been stained by an illicit discharge
Examples of Illicit Discharges
  • Chlorinated Pool Water
  • Sewage
  • Grass Clippings/Leaves blown into the street or storm drain
  • Salt Piles
  • Discharges from unpermitted land disturbing activities
  • Dumpster Leachate
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Construction Waste (debris, sludge, etc.)
  • Non-residential Vehicle Wash
  • Paint
  • Vehicle Oil
The following are visual examples of illicit discharges
Graphic showing grass clippings covering a storm water drain Grass clippings can block storm drains which can create local flood hazards. As natural materials like grass clippings break down, they release dangerous nutrients. These nutrients can lead to harmful algal blooms and fish die-offs.
Exposed salt risks being washed into the storm drains by rain. Salt is hazardous to freshwater ecosystems.
Photo of debris that washed into a storm water drain Grass clippings, leaves, and other debris can become trapped in storm water drains. These blockages lead to flooding and excess nutrient release to the local waterways.
Photo shows vehicle wash runoff from a non-residential establishment Non-residential car washes pose an extra risk to our waterways since the chemicals and other products used are not treated before reaching our local streams and rivers.
Examples of allowable discharges
  • Fire Fighting Activities
  • Dechlorinated Swimming Pool Discharges
  • Landscape Irrigation and Lawn Watering
  • Foundation/Footing Drains
  • Water Line Flushing
  • Discharges of Potable Water Sources
  • Street Wash Water
  • Air Conditioning Condensation
Tips to prevent Illicit Discharge Detention and Elimination
  • Freeze grease and oils and dispose of them in the trash instead of pouring down the sink.
  • Take your car to a commercial car wash.
  • Pick up pet waste and throw it in the trash.
  • Limit your use of fertilizer
  • Blow grass clipping and leaves back onto your yard, away from the street. NEVER blow them down into a storm drain.
  • Compost or take your yard waste to a composting facility.
  • Reduce water use and collect rain water in a rain barrel to be used on your lawn.
  • Inspect your septic system every 3 years and pump as necessary.
  • Keep your car tuned and repair fuel or fluid leaks quickly.
  • Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams.