What is That Stuff in the Stream?
What is an Illicit Discharge?
An illicit discharge is what happens when pollutants are poured directly into a storm drain, stream, or waterbody, as well as when pollutants are left out on the ground and can be carried by rain to a storm drain, stream, or waterbody. Because the storm drain system (also called a storm sewer) is not treated, everything that enters the system goes directly to local streams. These illegal discharges are enforced through City code.
Virginia DEQ's website for guidelines on the release of swimming pool water.
Is That Rainbow Sheen Natural or Oil?
Did you know that sometimes rainbow sheen on water can naturally occur? Natural sheen is caused by the same iron bacteria that cause the orange slime above. This bacteria is naturally occurring in groundwater.
So how do you tell the difference between a natural or oil rainbow sheen? The easiest way is to use a stick to poke into the sheen to try and break it apart. If the rainbow sheen stays broken up in pieces, it is most likely natural sheen. If the rainbow sheen swirls back together, it may be caused by oil or petroleum. An oil or petroleum sheen will also usually smell like oil or gas. If you believe there is an oil/petroleum spill, call the Alexandria Fire Department at 911. For other illicit discharge concerns, use Alex311.