Buried after the contentious discussion about the Monroe County Comprehensive Land Use Plan at this last Friday’s meeting of the Monroe County Commissioners was a bit of progress for our water quality initiatives. The Commissioners passed an ordinance that finally makes illicit discharges into the storm water system (which drains directly and unfiltered to our creeks and lakes) illegal.
Illicit discharges are defined in the ordinance as: “Any discharge, deposit, injection, spilling, leaking or placing into the Stormwater System by direct connection or otherwise that is not composed entirely of storm water, except naturally occurring floatables, such as leaves or tree limbs. Sources of illicit discharges include (but are not limited to) sanitary wastewater, septic tank effluent, car wash wastewater, oil disposal, radiator flushing disposal, laundry wastewater, roadway accident spillage, yard waste, animal waste and bedding, and household hazardous wastes.”
You can find a complete copy of the Illicit Discharge Detection Ordinance here.
Illicit discharge detection and elimination have long been the weakest link in our water quality efforts in Monroe County. This ordinance is a first step forward. The next step is enforcement — we need to make sure that we have the resources available to actually detect and address these illicit discharges.