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Development of Effective Procedures for Illicit Discharge Risk Mapping
Authorities of municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) are required to address illicit discharges as part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater program. Field reconnaissance is an effective measure to detect and identify illicit discharges, but requires substantial staff and financial resources to conduct. While risk analysis techniques and guidelines have been developed to facilitate MS4 prioritization of field operations, neither a standard set of indicators nor a standard operating procedure has been adopted. This study investigates the relationships among indicators of illicit discharge potential (IDP) and the locations of illicit discharges in two Virginia MS4s. Results of the study indicate that certain risk factors are statistically more effective at predicting IDP, suggesting that a core set of factors can be used to map illicit discharge risk. The results also show that risk mapping tools are significantly impacted by uncertainty in model inputs. Recommendations are provided for MS4s interested in pursuing IDP risk mapping as a tool to improve cost-effectiveness and guide illicit discharge program implementation.