Water Complaints


To report an illicit discharge, illegal dumping or noticeable changes in water quality, contact the Clean Water Program agencies:

Distinct Functions of Storm Drains & Sanitary Sewers

Storm drains and sanitary sewers have 2 distinct functions. It's important to understand the difference.

Storm drains collect and transport runoff from rainfall. Storm drain systems typically include the drains found in streets and parking lots, curb gutters, ditches, swales, gullies and other features for conveying stormwater runoff. Storm drainage systems do not remove pollutants from water before it is discharged into streams and lakes.

Sanitary sewers collect wastewater from indoor plumbing such as toilets, sinks, washing machines and floor drains and take it to a sewage treatment plant. The treatment plant removes many pollutants from wastewater before it is discharged.

Pollutants poured, spilled, dumped, washed, or discharged through illicit connections or illegal dumping into creeks and the storm drainage system inevitably make there way to receiving water bodies such as creeks, wetlands and lakes. Illicit discharges are defined as any discharge to the storm drainage system that is not composed entirely of storm water, with some exceptions. Illicit discharges enter the storm drainage system either through direct connections (e.g., wastewater piping either mistakenly or deliberately connected to the storm drain) or illegal dumping of materials that contain pollutants. Either way, the result is untreated discharges that may contribute elevated levels of pollutants to receiving water bodies, including:

  • Heavy metals
  • Toxics
  • Oil and grease
  • Solvents
  • Trash
  • Nutrients
  • Bacteria

To help reduce illicit discharges and illegal dumping in Lake County, the Lake County Clean Water Program is developing and implementing an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program. View the  Lake County Clean Water Program Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination (IDDE) Reporting Procedures & Forms (PDF) (Last Updated 2023) to learn more.