Illicit Sewage Discharge

Sewage (the water carrying human wastes, including kitchen, bath, and laundry wastes) may contain pathogens. Pathogens are microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause disease in humans. If not properly treated and disposed, sewage can spread these pathogens through direct or indirect human contact or discharge to surface and ground water. It is because of this that the Snohomish Health District investigates complaints involving illicit sewage discharge.

Examples of illicit sewage discharge include:

  • Sewage discharging directly onto the ground.
  • Improper discharge or surfacing of sewage from broken or damaged side sewer lines.
  • Failure or malfunction of an on-site sewage system that results in the illicit discharge of sewage.
  • Recreational vehicles (RVs) discharging sewage to the ground.
  • Sewage discharging from a pipe or conveyance line to the ground surface or surface water.

sewage complaints

Contact the Health District by phone, email or online. Your name and phone number are kept confidential, but they help ensure we can do proper follow-up and investigation. Anonymous complaints may not be investigated.

Please be prepared to provide the following information:

  • What is the problem? Describe the type of nuisance, specific location and how often it happens.
  • Where is the problem? Street address or cross streets, plus city and zip code.

Conditions not investigated by shd

  • Smells or odors are not always indicative of surfacing sewage. Odors can result from improperly vented plumbing, or other sources, natural or man-made, that produce a sewage like odor.
  • Sewage discharge from broken sanitary sewer lines or equipment malfunction. Contact the responsible sewer utility immediately.