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Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

An important part of UMass Lowell’s stormwater management program is the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) program.

What is an illicit discharge?

Illicit discharges are unauthorized or illegal discharges to the storm drainage system or surface waters, such as:

  • Illegal connections to storm drainage system
  • Indirect discharges of pollutants into storm system
  • Spills or deliberate dumping into storm drainage system

Illicit discharges harm the quality of our waters by killing fish and aquatic life, and by making our waters unsafe for drinking, swimming or recreation.

UMass Lowell is required to identify and eliminate any illicit discharges discovered. University faculty, staff and students can help by being observant and by reporting any suspected illicit discharge immediately.

What are signs of Illicit Discharges?

  • Water flowing during dry weather
  • Oil and grease sheen
  • Unnatural floating debris (trash or litter)
  • Foaming discharges
  • Colorful or cloudy discharges
  • Staining on pipe inner walls or inside drainage ditches
  • Heavy slime growth on water surfaces
  • Heavy sediment build-ups
  • Unusual odors (solvents, fuel, sewage, rotten eggs)
  • Distressed vegetation
  • Deformed aquatic life
  • Unknown pipes that discharge into storm system

How to Report an Illicit Discharge

If you suspect an illicit discharge or observe improper disposal practices, report the incident to the UMass Lowell Stormwater Contact at 978-934-3131.

Include the following details:

  • Date and time
  • Location (campus and nearest building/street intersection or appropriate landmark)
  • Description of discharge (odor, color or other signs of pollution)

The UMass Lowell Stormwater Contact will follow up on any reported illicit discharge to correct the problem.

With your help we can help improve the water quality of the Merrimack River.