When should I report dry weather flow?
The best way to tell if the dry weather flow is an illicit discharge, and should be reported, is by examining the characteristics of the water being discharged. Below are some important questions to ask yourself to help determine the nature of the discharge.
Question 1: Does the discharge have a distinct odor?
Answer: Some smells coming from an outfall pipe are an immediate indicator of an illicit discharge, for example, a sewage, gasoline, or chemical smell should be reported.
Question 2: Is the water cloudy or full of sediment?
Answer: Gray water that should be treated at a sewage treatment plant may cause a cloudy appearance in the discharged water. A construction site without proper stormwater best management practices could be discharging sediment to a storm drain. These conditions should be reported.
Question 3: Is there anything floating in the discharge?
Answer: Soap suds and oil sheens are examples of floatables that may be found in an illicit discharge. These conditions should be reported.
Question 4: What color is the discharge?
Answer: An abnormally colored discharge is a good indication that there is an illicit connection to the stormwater conveyance system. However sometimes an abnormal color may have a natural cause. For instance, an reddish-orange discharge could be from a natural source of groundwater that is high in iron content. However if an abnormal color is coupled with another one of the characteristics listed here (odor, floatables, cloudiness, vegetative growth), it should be reported.
Question 5: Is there excessive vegetation around the outfall pipe?
Answer: Excessive vegetation around the outfall pipe as opposed to the surrounding area is an indication of increased nutrients in the stormwater discharge. This could be from fertilizers or sewage in the discharge and should be reported.
Although your local waterway may have a pollution source that’s obvious to you, Suffolk County may not know about it, so please report it!
Illicit discharges can happen directly or indirectly and may or may not be intentional. Some examples include a sewer pipe that is improperly connected to the storm drain system or the intentional dumping of oil, grease, paint, solvents or automobile fluids into storm drains. If you witness something suspicious coming out of a stormwater outfall to a body of water or any type of suspicious connections, please report it to the appropriate person below at the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. here.
For any discharge to surface waters, please contact:
Michael Jensen, Office of Ecology: 631-852-5760
For discharges of toxic or hazardous materials from commercial or industrial properties, please contact:
Office of Pollution Control: 631-854-2501