Types of Pollution

Illicit Discharge

An illicit discharge is defined as a storm drain that has a measurable flow during dry weather containing pollutants or pathogens. An example would be sewage coming out of a storm drain that enters into a water body. You can learn more about illicit discharge by watching the 2-minute video below.

Point Source Pollution

Point source pollution is when you can identify exactly where a pollutant is coming from, i.e. the end of a pipe. For example, someone may dump some old used paint directly into a storm drain or a chemical spill from an overturned truck.

Non-Point Source Pollution

Non-point source pollution is much harder to identify as it is the collection of many pollutants that end up in waterways. For example, stormwater run-off from agricultural fields or a parking lot may contain many pollutants, but the source is cannot be identified.

Emergency: Call 911

For emergency spills that are large, hazardous, or may enter a waterway, contact Elkhart County Emergency Dispatch at 911.  Emergency responders will determine whether the Elkhart County Health Department and/or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) should be contacted.


If  you see something that looks like an illicit discharge into a local stormwater conveyance (river, stream, ditch, etc.), but do not feel that this incident causes immediate danger, you may contact local government officials rather than call 911.

If you do not know what jurisdiction the site is in, contact the Soil & Water Conservation District at 574-523-2030, or email jhess@elkhartcounty.com

Don’t be the Polluter!

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