Stormwater Utility

Welcome to Stormwater Utility (SWU).

The responsibilities of the SWU Program include, but are not limited to, the development and maintenance of the SWU database, determination of SWU fees and the administration of the SWU fee credits.

What is a Stormwater Utility?
The Stormwater Utility (SWU) was developed in December 2003 when the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners adopted a revised ordinance authorizing the collection of fees from stormwater users, defined as DeKalb County property owners.  The fee went into effect January 1, 2004 and appears annually on the County property tax bill.  Although the SWU fee appears on the property tax bill, it is an assessment, not a tax.  It appears in the assessment section of the property tax bill.

Why do we need a Stormwater Utility?
In 1972 Congress passed the Clean Water Act, and subsequently, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was created. The purpose of the NPDES permit is to control water pollution by regulating the discharge of pollutants to waterways.  The NPDES permit allows DeKalb County to perform the activities necessary to maintain, repair and install stormwater drainage systems.  An effective stormwater drainage system is essential in order to protect citizens from flooding, preserve and enhance the environmental quality of area watersheds, and to comply with NPDES requirements.  A stormwater drainage system becomes and remains effective by having consistent maintenance performed on stormwater system structures such as catch basins, pipes, culverts, detention ponds, and headwalls. The permit also requires the County to reduce stormwater pollution and improve water quality. The County determined that implementing a fee through the SWU is the most practical and appropriate means of funding the County's Stormwater Management program.

What is a Stormwater Utility Fee?
The Stormwater Utility (SWU) fee provides for an equitable assignment of costs because it is calculated in direct proportion to the type of property and the amount of impervious surface on the property. The SWU fee provides the funds necessary to perform the maintenance that is needed on the County’s stormwater drainage structures. The SWU fee went into effect January 1, 2004 and appears annually on the County property tax bill.

Who has to pay the Stormwater Utility Fee?
Every property owner in Unincorporated DeKalb County whose property has an impervious surface is required to pay a SWU fee.  This was determined to be the most equitable method of generating the funds needed to sustain the County’s stormwater management program.  The SWU fee directly funds the installation, repair and maintenance of County maintained stormwater drainage structures in DeKalb County.

How are Stormwater Utility fees calculated?
The SWU fee is based on an Equivalent Residential Unit, or ERU.  One ERU is $4.00 per month or $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 for their stormwater runoff.
  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 billed one (1) ERU for each three thousand (3,000) square feet of impervious surface or increment thereof on the property, rounded to the next tenth of an ERU.

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 they meet the credit requirements.  Follow the link to the “Stormwater Utility Fee Credit System” page for additional information on the stormwater credit and obtain a credit application.


To report issues or concerns about a stormwater drainage structure contact Roads and Drainage at (404)297-3840 or fill out a service request form. To report a stormwater environmental issue call the Stormwater Environmental Comments line at (404) 294-2007.