Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I report an illicit discharge?

Call the Stormwater Environmental Concerns line at (404) 294-2007. 

Why is stormwater management important to everyone?

Stormwater management reduces the amount of runoff from our roofs, driveways, roads, and parking lots.  By reducing runoff, we can help prevent water pollution, flooding, and improve our water quality. Pollutants such as oil, litter, and fertilizers are carried by stormwater into the storm drain systems. Reducing pollution carried in stormwater runoff is an important part of stormwater management since stormwater that enters our storm drain system is not treated to remove pollutants.  To learn more about stormwater pollution visit. 

When It Rains It Pollutes (

Learn about Our Water - Stormwater Basics ( 

2020-2022 Bill Insert - Stormwater Management


I have often seen a curb marker or stencil on a catch basin. How do I get a curb marker or stencil for a catch basin in my neighborhood?

If you or a group are interested in the Strom Drain Marking Program contact or call (404)- 294-2364   Storm Drain Marking Brochure - Form


Why is it important to dispose of pet waste properly?

It is important because pet waste in the water bodies contributes to nutrients that lead to overgrowth of harmful algae and weeds which kills fish and other wildlife.  When you walk your pet remember to bring a plastic bag or look for a pet waste station that has bags so you can scoop the poop and toss it in the

trash can.  For more tips and information on pet waste visit


Who should I contact about a smell coming from a waterbody or stormwater structure, or a change in the color of a waterbody near my house?   
When citizens report a smell coming from a waterbody or stormwater structure, or a change in the color of a waterbody, it makes us aware of a problem that may have otherwise gone undetected. To report a smell coming from waterbody or stormwater structure or change in the color of a waterbody contact the Department of Watershed Management at (7707)-270-6243 to have it investigated.


Are sanitary sewers and storm drain systems the same thing?

In DeKalb County no, they are not. The storm drain system and sanitary sewer system have two different functions. The storm drain system collects and transports stormwater to a waterbody.  The sanitary sewer system collects wastewater from indoor plumbing and transports it to a sewage treatment plant. 


What is a storm drain system?

The storm drain system, also known as a stormwater drainage system or the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), is a network of stormwater structures (catch basins), conveyances (ditches and pipes), and ponds that carry stormwater (rainwater) to waterbodies such as creeks, streams and rivers. The storm drain system is designed to direct and manage the volume and velocity of increased stormwater runoff caused by the development of undeveloped land.


Who do I contact if I see someone or a business who is putting paint, used motor oil, sediment from a construction site, grass clippings or pet waste  into the catch basin or other storm water drainage structure?
Illicit discharges, illegal connections and illegal dumping, are major causes of storm water pollution.  When citizens report a potential illicit discharge, illegal connection or illegal dumping, it makes us aware of a problem that may have otherwise gone undetected.   If you see a potential illicit discharge, illegal connection, or someone dumping pollutants such as grass clippings, paint, sediment, oil, chemicals or pet waste into a stormwater structure, immediately call the Environmental Comments Line at (404) 297-2007. Remember, only stormwater should go down a storm drain.  For more information about stormwater pollution click here:


When I have yard clippings and leaves how do I dispose of them correctly?

Flooding can occur when the storm drain is blocked by or clogged with yard clipping and leaves.  Learn more about how to properly dispose of these items here.


Where do I dispose of household paint and household hazardous waste?

To find out where to dispose of household hazardous waste including paint visit:


Who is responsible for clearing the debris, or blockage in the creek or drainage easement on my property? 

There are many citizens with a creek or drainage easement on their property.  The property owner is responsible for the maintenance of those areas just as they are responsible for mowing their yard within the road right-of -way.  


A neighbor or business has connected a pipe to the catch basin or stormwater structure. Who should I contact?

Please call our Environmental Comments Line at (404)-294-2007.


I hear water running inside the catch basin and it hasn't rained for a long time. Who should I contact?

Call DeKalb County Watershed’s 24-Hour Emergency line at (770) 270-6243 or send an e-mail to


What is the Clean Water Act?

The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters.  The legislation spelled out ambitious programs for water quality improvements that have been since expanded, resulting in cleaner water for everyone. Click here to learn more: