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What Does the EPA say about Storm Water?

Carlos Gonzales

New member
This is a subject that is ofter looked over or swept under the rug. This topic is a significant componenet to the pressure washing industry. I highly recommend that all of you become familiar with the Ft. Worth Guidelines. The EPA has endorsed these guidelines as the model for other municipalities to follow.

It has become the conclusion of many in the industry, at least on paper, that the Ft. Worth guidelines are the least stringent/restricted guidelines and are power washing friendly.

The guidelines are about 22 pages long but certainly well worth the read. The time you spend reading these guidelines will be time well spent.


Illicit Discharges
An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water, except for discharges allowed under a NPDES permit or waters used for firefighting operations. These non-stormwater discharges occur due to illegal connections to the storm drain system from business or commercial establishments. As a result of these illicit connections, contaminated wastewater enter into storm drains or directly into local waters before receiving treatment from a wastewater treatment plant. Illicit connections may be intentional or may be unknown to the business owner and often are due to the connection of floor drains to the storm sewer system. Additional sources of illicit discharges can be failing septic systems, illegal dumping practices, and the improper disposal of sewage from recreational practices such as boating or camping.

Illicit discharge detection and elimination programs are designed to prevent contamination of ground and surface water supplies by monitoring, inspection and removal of these illegal non-stormwater discharges. An essential element of these programs is an ordinance granting the authority to inspect properties suspected of releasing contaminated discharges into storm drain systems. Another important factor is the establishment of enforcement actions for those properties found to be in noncompliance or that refuse to allow access to their facilities.. The model ordinance in this section includes language to address illicit discharges in general, as well as illicit connections from industrial sites. The language is borrowed from a number of ordinances and communities will need to assess what enforcement methods are appropriate for their area.

  1. Fort Worth, Texas Environmental Code-Stormwater Protection

    Fort Worth's ordinance has been used as a model by many other communities around the country and their illicit connection detection program has been recognized nationally.

Mike Schoeben

New member
I like their model also, thanks for sharing it. Mobile cleaners need to pay attention to this stuff. Monitoring and enforcement are being ramped up all over the country, and its just a matter of time til they start targeting us for enforcement. It will pay off big time to be ahead of the crowd on this.