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ILLICIT CONNECTION / ILLICIT DISCHARGE PROGRAM

Background

The 1972 amendments of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also referred to as the Clean Water Act) prohibit the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Efforts to improve water quality under the NPDES program traditionally have focused on reducing pollutants in discharges of industrial process wastewater and from municipal sewage treatment plants. Efforts to address stormwater discharges under the NPDES program have generally been limited to certain industrial categories with effluent limitations for stormwater.

In response to the need for comprehensive NPDES requirements for discharges of stormwater, Congress amended the Clean Water Act in 1987 to require the Environmental Protection Agency to establish phased NPDES requirements for stormwater discharges. To implement these requirements, EPA published the initial permit application and requirements for certain categories of storm water discharges associated with industrial activity, and discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems located in municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more on November 16, 1990, (55 FIR 47990). Storm water discharge permits provided a mechanism for monitoring the discharge of pollutants to water of the United States and for establishing appropriate controls.

On July 30, 1996, the County of Los Angeles and 85 cities within the County, including the City of Los Angeles, were named by the Regional Water Quality Control Board co-permittees under a joint municipal NPDES stormwater permit. Pursuant to Clean Water Act Section 402(p)(3)(B), municipal NPDES permits, given either on a system- or jurisdiction-wide basis, shall effectively prohibit nonstormwater discharges into the storm drain system and shall require controls to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable. Pollutant loading from the storm drainage system will be achieved through the use of Best Management Practices which include pollution prevention techniques, management practices, control techniques, and design and engineering practices.

Under the municipal NPDES permit previously mentioned and in accordance with federal regulations 40 Code Of Federal Regulations (CFR) 122.26 (d) (2) (i) (B)(C), the City of Los Angeles (City) along with other co-permittees, is required to prohibit (by way of ordinance, order, or similar means) illicit discharges into the storm drain system. Additionally, the City must control the discharge of spills, dumping or disposal of materials other than stormwater into the storm drain system. To meet this objective and comply with the legal requirements of the NPDES permit, a subcommittee representing all co-permittees was formed to develop a model program for the detection and elimination of illicit discharges and illicit connections. This model program, which was approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board in March 1999 and contains, provides baseline guidance to assist the cities in formulating and implementing their own illicit discharge/illicit connections programs by the NPDES permit-mandated date of July 30, 1999.

Related Links

NPDES Facilities Inspection

Enforcement Activities

Special Projects