Clear Water Discharge Ordinance – Clearwater Discharge Inspection Form

On October 1, 2002, a new ordinance that governs discharges into the sewer system became effective. It impacts all new construction, changes of ownership, and changes of account responsibilities. Read all about that Ordinance here.

What is an Ordinance?

Everyone wants to live in a clean environment. The government passes laws to control pollution and help keep the environment clean. These laws help industry, individuals, and the District do their part to maintain a clean environment. In turn, the District’s Board passes laws called ordinances to help its users also obey the laws passed by the federal and state governments.

The Rock River Water Reclamation District plant is designed to treat only polluted water. It is illegal for anyone to discharge clear water into the sanitary sewer. Property owners should be sure they do not have clear water emptying into the sanitary sewer. Clear water includes:

    • Downspouts or runoff from any roof
    • Storm water
    • Water drained from a fountain
    • Water from the ground
    • Surface drainage
    • Sump pumps for ground water or other clear water
    • Cooling waters
    • Any unpolluted water

Certification of Compliance

Effective October 1, 2002, before selling or conveying any property to another person or entity, the owner MUST hire a plumber licensed by the State of Illinois to inspect the property and complete the District’s Clearwater Discharge Inspection Form. It usually takes the plumber 15 to 20 minutes to complete an inspection. The form is valid for one year and may be used for future property transfers if the seller shows no changes were made that are illegal.

Who Does This Ordinance Affect?

Every owner of property served by the District.
Every person or body selling or transferring property served by the District.

What Happens to Violators?

If the District learns that clear water is coming into the sewer, it will notify the property owner that he or she must correct the problem, and must do so by a specific date. When the changes have been made, the property owner must return a form signed by a plumber licensed by the State of Illinois. If the problem is not corrected, the owner of the property may be fined or the water may be shut off. If the property is served by a well, the sewer line may be disconnected.

Why All of This Fuss?

Sometimes sewer backups occur. It is very difficult and expensive to clean up backups and often results in loss of property. Backups also create health risks and odors that must be dealt with. The District has found that in many areas experiencing backups, the problem is caused or worsened by clear water entering the sewer system. When these problems are corrected, fewer backups occur.

Additionally, it is very expensive to build and maintain the sewer lines and plant facilities. If the District had to treat all of the clear water, as well as sewage, it would have to build and maintain bigger facilities. The users would pay these additional expenses.

Finally, the District must obey state and federal wastewater laws. Requiring property owners to correct illegal connections is part of the District’s responsibilities.

Clearwater Discharge Inspection Form

The Clearwater Discharge Inspection Form is available from many plumbers, title companies, real estate agencies, the District, or by clinking on the link.

More Questions?

More information on these laws, certification, or inspections may be obtained by calling the District’s Engineering Department at 815-387-7660 or email Engineering.