Stormwater Utility


What is a Stormwater Utility?

Stormwater Utility (SWU) is a legal entity that provides a method of generating the necessary capital to fund the Stormwater Management Program.  In December 2003 the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners adopted a revised ordinance authorizing the formation of a Stormwater Utility (SWU) and an associated SWU fee. The SWU fee provides the most practical, appropriate and equitable means of funding the Stormwater Management Program. The fees collected fund the installation, repair and maintenance of assets (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer structures (MS4s)) managed by the Stormwater Management Program. Examples of MS4s are storm drains (catch basins), culverts, ditches, pipes, headwalls, and ponds.  The SWU fee went into effect January 1, 2004 and appears annually on the County property tax bill.


Who pays a Stormwater Utility Fee?

Each property owner in Unincorporated DeKalb County whose property has impervious surface is required to pay a SWU fee. Impervious surfaces do not allow rain to infiltrate (soak in) at the same rate as natural surfaces, like grassed areas.  Impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to, roofs, patios, decks, porches, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks.


How are Stormwater Utility fees calculated?

The SWU fee is based on the amount of impervious surface on a parcel. The formula for the SWU fee uses an Equivalent Residential Unit, or ERU.  The SWU fee per ERU is $48 per year. 

The total number of ERUs for a property is calculated as follows:

  1. All single dwelling lots (i.e.  single family homes or townhomes) are charged one (1) ERU per year.
  2. All multiple dwelling lots (i.e.  apartments or condos) are charged one-half (.5) ERU times the number of units on the lot.
  3. All other developed lands are charged one (1) ERU for each three thousand (3,000) square feet of impervious surface on the property, rounded to the next tenth of an ERU.
  4. Undeveloped property is not charged a SWU fee.

How can I reduce my SWU fee?

Owners of non-residential parcels are welcome to apply for a SWU credit. The credit application will be approved if it meets the credit requirements.  Follow the link to the “Stormwater Utility Fee Credit System” page for additional information.