Stormwater Management Background

The citizens of DeKalb County are facing an increasingly acute and complex set of stormwater management challenges as the County continues to grow and prosper:

  • Continuing growth and development that has altered the runoff characteristics of watersheds throughout the County.
  • Aging and deteriorating drainage infrastructure, which is approaching the limit of its expected life span in many areas.
  • Community demands for new services related to drainage maintenance and repair.
  • Compliance requirements related to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.
  • Compliance with stormwater and water quality requirements related to wastewater discharge permits under the NPDES program.

Due to the challenges listed above, DeKalb County’s funding needs are 2 to 3 times what has historically been allocated to the limited set of stormwater management activities it has delivered.  DeKalb County has responded to these challenges by establishing a stormwater utility fee, adopted by ordinance in December, 2002 and amended in December, 2003, that charges County properties on the basis of stormwater runoff contributions which started in 2004.  As a result of implementing the user fee in 2004, the County is able to proactively provide stormwater services, representing a marked departure from the historical reactive responses to drainage system failures.

The Roads & Drainage Division within the Public Works department has the primary responsibility for operating and managing the stormwater system in DeKalb County via the County’s Stormwater Utility.  However, a successful stormwater management program depends on the integrated efforts of multiple departments within the County.  The Watershed Management Department has many ongoing activities, such as it’s South River Watershed Improvement Project, that have the potential to positively impact stormwater runoff.  In early 2006, the Department of Planning & Development was created by merging the Planning and Development Departments, and in February, 2011, the department was renamed to the Department of Planning and Sustainability.  The Department of Planning & Sustainability influences stormwater through it’s responsibilities for plan review (site development and building), permitting, inspections and environmental issues associated with land development and building construction.  This Department also provides research, analysis, and policy recommendations on land use, zoning, transportation planning, historic preservation, subdivision plat reviews, and urban design.  Lastly, the Office of Parks Bond and Greenspace is responsible for administering the County Greenspace program, which can help mitigate stormwater runoff when riparian buffer areas are targeted for acquisition.

Want more information?

For more information on DeKalb County’s stormwater management call the County’s Roads & Drainage Division at:
(404) 297-4464.