Storm Drain Dumping
Stream Pollution

How to report suspected water pollution or illegal dumping down storm drains.

To Report a Pollution Emergency, call 911.

To report an Illegal Discharge that is not urgent, call 434-202-4179.

What is an Illegal Discharge?

Stormdrains are designed to handle stormwater runoff only and do not provide treatment to water or anything else that enters the system. The City of Charlottesville, the County of Albemarle, Piedmont Virginia Community College, the University of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Transportation manage the stormdrain systems throughout our community.  They are responsible for educating the public and soliciting the help of citizens to report sightings or evidence of suspicious substances being dumped down stormdrains or directly into our local surface waters. Bad smells, unnatural colors or dead fish, for example, are signs that something harmful has entered the water. As part of their Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) program, the members of the RSEP have set up a Hot Line number to call (434-202-4179) for citizens who suspect that they have witnessed illegal dumping into a stormdrain or water pollution incidents. If you are not sure whether an illicit discharge has occurred, we suggest you report it anyway, and we can determine whether some action is required to protect the water supply and/or the environment.

What are Some Examples of Illicit Discharges?

Proper disposal of common household chemicals and products is important to prevent pollution of our local waterways. Under no circumstances should any of the following (or other chemicals) be disposed of down a storm drain or directly into a local waterway:

  • "Gray Water" such as laundry, shower, or kitchen waste water.

  • Paints, solvents, cleaning products and other toxic household substances

  • Gasoline, motor oil, brake fluid, engine coolant (antifreeze) and other toxic automotive products.

  • Septic tank pumpout and other types of human or animal waste.

  • Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other agricultural products.

  • Cooking oil or grease.

What are Some Indications that an Illicit Discharge Has Occurred?

  • An unnatural color in the water, such as red, white or brown.

  • An oil sheen floating on the water.

  • Floatables such as toilet paper, or suds.

  • A foul or unnatural odor.

  • Dead fish or other aquatic creatures.

motor oil

detergent suds

white paint floor sanding rinse