Illicit Discharge Ordinance


The City of Dubuque has an illicit discharge ordinance that was passed in 2004 prohibiting the discharge of illicit (illegal) substances into storm drains and other stormwater collection systems within the City of Dubuque. When waste is placed in a catch basin, street, or in a waterway it is the same as dumping it right into the Mississippi River as that is where the City’s storm sewers discharge. Placing waste in the river can have harmful consequences to the health of the river. Even yard clippings and leaves can lead to the loss of river habitat and fish kills. 

Disposing of yard waste, trash, or any pollutant into a storm drain, street, or waterway is a violation of City of Dubuque ordinances and carries a potential fine of up to $1,000 per day per violation found.

Examples of illicit discharge include:

  • Motor Oil
  • Antifreeze / Transmission Fluid
  • Paint
  • Cooking Grease
  • Detergent
  • Home or Construction Waste
  • Pet Waste
  • Yard Waste (leaves, grass, mulch)
  • Dirt or Gravel
  • Trash
  • Pesticides and Fertilizers

You Can Help Make a Difference!

  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.
  • Repair auto leaks and dispose of batteries and household and auto waste at designated collection or recycling locations.
  • Clean up after your pet.
  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface.
  • Sweep up yard debris rather than hosing down areas and compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
  • Clean paintbrushes in a sink, not outdoors, and properly dispose of excess paints through a hazardous waste collection program.
  • Never put anything into a storm drain or creek.
  • Schedule a Leaf Rake-Out appointment through Public Works by calling 563-589-4250. Leaf piles should be placed in the street at the curb no sooner than 24 hours before the scheduled pickup.
  • Help to prosecute violators by taking a picture of the violation taking place.

Stormwater Hotline 

Call 563.690.6200 if you see:

  • Sediment from a construction site in the street, ditch, creek, stream, or river.
  • Someone dumping anything into the street, a storm drain, ditch, creek, stream, or river.