dekalb county water

DeKalb County hired nearly two dozen new staff to help address problems with the Water Department that led to a disconnection moratorium five years ago. CEO Michael Thurmond reports billing complaints have fallen drastically.

DECATUR, Ga. – DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond has lifted the five-year-old water service disconnection moratorium for residential water accounts, effective July 1, 2021.

The moratorium was established in October 2016 by Interim CEO Lee May and continued in January 2019 by Thurmond upon taking office.

DeKalb County has 102,000 residential water customers.

 “Restoring trust by understanding the root cause of the billing problems, taking corrective actions and being responsive to customer concerns has been our goal,” Thurmond said. “We have learned from past mistakes, but we did not dwell on it. I was hired by the citizens of DeKalb County to fix a problem and that has been done.”

Customers whose ability to pay has been impacted by COVID-19 will receive extended payment arrangements.

Known as the New Day Project, Thurmond said the county has made significant accomplishments during the past four years to fix the water billing problems.

The county reported:

  • Disputed water bills have gone from 4,000 complaints to fewer than 200.
  • 37,000 “held” bills that previously could not be verified were released.
  • 82,000 defective and out-of-life cycle water meters have been replaced.
  • 134,000 meters, 70 percent of all customers, have been fitted with electronic transmitters to ensure timely, accurate readings.
  • Nearly two dozen professional staff were hired and trained.

 “Staffing, processes and assignment changes were put in place to remove silos and enhance communication and coordination between departments,” Thurmond said.

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