When to Report Water Pollution

Learn about Illicit Discharges

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About Example Exceptions Penalties What to Report


Illicit discharge - Illegally throwing away or dumping litter into the stormwater system. The system includes streets, ditches, storm drains and pipes, lakes, streams, and rivers.


  • Pouring paint into or near a storm drain; 
  • Changing oil or antifreeze over or near a storm drain; 
  • Washing your car or dumpster pads in an area where stormwater could flow into a storm drain; 
  • Illegally connecting from the sanitary sewer system to the stormwater system; and,
  • Putting a lot of trash or debris in a creek. 


  • Condensation from air conditioners; 
  • Water from a hydrant used by firefighters; 
  • Pool water (if the water was not chlorinated before draining); 
  • Charity and residential car washes; and,
  • Groundwater from a sump pump. 


Timeframe Fine
One-time $5,000 a day until the issue is resolved
More than once  $25,000 a day 

Money collected from an illegal discharge goes to the Wake County Public School System. 

What to Report

When you see water pollution or someone dumping litter - collect this information: 

  • Time (It's best to let us know immediately); 
  • Location - address, intersection, business name, or landmark; 
  • What was dumped; and, 
  • Who was involved. 

See water pollution? Email or call us at 919-996-3940.



Zachary Poole
Illicit Discharge Coordinator 

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