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Home >> Departments/Offices >> Stormwater Utility >> Stormwater Frequently Asked Questions

Stormwater Frequently Asked Questions

What is the stormwater user fee? The stormwater user fee is a user fee charge for stormwater services provided by the Rockdale County Stormwater Utility (RCSWU) to residential and non-residential properties in unincorporated Rockdale County. The revenue that is collected can only be utilized for provision of stormwater management services.

What is the user fee charge based on for my property? The user fee charge is based on the amount of impervious surface on a parcel. Impervious surfaces are manmade features on a property that cannot absorb rainfall including rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, etc. The square footage of impervious surface on a property has a direct correlation to the stormwater runoff characteristics for the parcel including volume, velocity, discharge rate and pollutant concentration. Increased runoff volume, velocity, discharge rate and pollutant concentration impose a greater demand on the County drainage system to safely and efficiently convey runoff from that parcel. So, the larger parcels with greater amounts of impervious area will be charged a higher user fee based on the relative demand placed on the County's drainage system and the increased service level provided to that parcel.

What if I have a detention pond, or some other stormwater control, on my property to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff? Any customer can apply for and secure credits against their stormwater user fee charge by following the procedures outlined in the RCSWU Credit Manual (which can be downloaded/printed by clicking the link).

Isn't this just another tax? No. Although the user fee charge is an additional cost to residents and businesses for stormwater services, it is not based on the ad valorem value of a property and all revenues from the RCSWU must be spent on stormwater and drainage related issues. Also, tax exempt properties will receive a stormwater user fee charge because they generate and contribute runoff that places a demand on the drainage system.

How will my user fee charge be calculated? The RCSWU has developed a detailed rate structure that apportions costs to properties in a fair and equitable method based on the relative demand that the parcel places on the County drainage system. Rate Table

Why do some residential properties pay different rates?  The user fee charge is based on the impact that a particular property has on the County drainage system in terms of its runoff characteristics and the overall demand. In accordance with applicable County ordinances, properties in the Big Haynes Creek watershed generally have a parcel impervious area to gross parcel area ratio that is much smaller than a typical property in Rockdale County. Therefore, those parcels are capable of absorbing more rainfall than a "traditional" residential parcel with a larger ratio. In a similar manner, manufactured homes typically have a smaller impervious area footprint than a typical detached single family residential structure. As such, these customer classes have been assigned a user fee charge rate that reflects these unique parcel and impervious area characteristics.

What is the frequency of billing and the billing mechanism?  Stormwater user fee bills are mailed to all customers. Residential customers are mailed an annual bill in the beginning of the year and payment is due as shown on the bill. Non-residential customers are typically billed monthly (where the annual user fee charge is divided equally among 12 payments), but they have the option of paying the entire annual user fee charge in one annual bill. Those non-residential customers that would like their bill sent to them annually, instead of monthly, must submit their request in writing to the Stormwater Utility.

What are the benefits?
A comprehensive stormwater management program can lead to many community benefits:

  • Improved drainage system operations
  • Less ponding and flooding
  • Reduced erosion in streams and ditches
  • Generally higher property values
  • Cleaner water in our streams, ponds and lakes
  • A more aesthetically pleasing county
  • Compliance with existing and future environmental regulations.

Who do I call if I have additional questions Questions about stormwater user fees and the County Stormwater Management Program should be directed to the Stormwater Division by email at rcswu@rockdalecounty.org, or phone at 770-278-7155.