Drainage Charge

Are you a RESIDENT or NON-RESIDENTIAL property owner?

Drainage Myth vs. Fact

Residents: Your Water Bill is Changing

The city is changing how it charges you for drainage. Until now, most households have been charged a flat drainage fee of $20.63 per month. This has been the case whether the property was large or small and whether the lot was covered mostly with grass or with hard (impervious) surfaces like roofs and concrete driveways.

Your drainage fee will now be based on the actual amount of hard surfaces on your property that send rainfall and snow melt into the sewer system. The change has taken effect July 1, and is reflected on your bill starting in August.

The majority of households are on smaller lots and will see a reduction in their drainage fee. Homes with larger than average roofs and longer driveways likely will see an increase on their bill based on the specifics of their own property. 

Drainage graphic

Drainage Fee Pays for Infrastructure and Reduces Street Flooding and Backups

The drainage fee helps pay for sewage infrastructure, such as wet weather treatment facilities which helps prevent untreated sewage discharges before it enters the Detroit and/or Rouge Rivers. In addition to protecting public health, the facilities help reduce street flooding and basement backups.

How is My Bill Changing?

Water Bill


Green Credit

Residential properties will receive an automatic 25% Green Credit on their bill based on the assumption they have redirected their downspouts to run onto their lawn instead of directly into the sewer.

Parcel Viewer

How Identify Hard Surfaces on Your Property

Go to see the satellite imagery we used to identify hard surfaces on your property.

  • Parcel Viewer screenshot
    STEP 1
    Go to 
  • Parcel Viewer screenshot
    STEP 2
    Enter your address.
  • STEP 3
    View your parcel information.
    Display may appear differently depending on your browser. Use + and – icons to zoom in and out of the map to click on your parcel.

DWSD has factored in an automatic adjustment to allow for a margin of error within your parcel boundary. Your fee is calculated by rounding down the acres of hard surface to the nearest hundredth of an acre. For example: an estimated measurement of 0.047 acres of hard surface is rounded down to 0.04 acres on your bill.

Projected Residential Drainage Charges*

How the Drainage Charge is Calculated

Multiply amount of hard (impervious) surface by the rate of $598. Subtract green


Projected Rates

Resources for Nonresidential Property Owners

How Do You Verify Property Data?

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) customers should validate your property data using the DWSD Parcel Viewer, which allows you to search for parcel information by address. DWSD uses data from the City of Detroit Assessor's Office and flyover images to determine the amount of impervious surface on each parcel. The hard, impervious surface area recorded for your property will be used to calculate drainage charges. Open the parcel viewer and type your street address with your zip code. If you disagree with the data, please complete the adjustment application.

Make Sure We Are Accurate

If your hard surface is incorrect, fill out the 

 or call a Customer Care representative at (313) 267-8000 and
press option #6.

* Projected rates are subject to Board of Water Commissioners approval for fiscal year 2019. Charge includes the green credit of about 25%, and only applies to households subject to the fee. Residential properties with less than 0.02 impervious acres will not be billed and properties that discharge to surface waters are not subject to the drainage fee.

Capital Partnership Program

The new Capital Partnership Program allocates $5 million per year to fund installation of approved Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects for nonresidential property owners. Up to 50 percent of design, installation and capital costs will be reimbursed, up to a maximum $50,000 (subject to DWSD discretion).

  • DWSD will prioritize projects that increase GSI in our service area.
  • Applications must meet the eligibility requirements indicated on the application for consideration.
  • DWSD will define the requirements for selected applicants (see sample agreement).
  • The funding will be announced quarterly with the first round expected to be awarded in April.

How do I apply?

Complete the application:

Follow the instructions on the form.

You may also submit the completed application and required documents online: 

What is Drainage?

Each year, billions of gallons of stormwater runoff and snowmelt flow from roofs, driveways, parking lots and similar hard, impervious surfaces into the city’s combined sewer system. This drainage flows into the same underground pipe as unsanitary wastewater and must be treated at the wastewater treatment plant before it can be released back into the environment.

Federal and State regulations required DWSD to invest more than $1 billion in combined sewer overflow control (CSO) facilities to help prevent untreated overflows into the Detroit and Rouge rivers and preserve Detroit’s water quality. The drainage charge recovers the cost for operating Detroit’s CSO facilities and treating wet weather flows at the wastewater treatment plant -- $150 million annually.

Since 1975, most DWSD customers have been paying for drainage as part of their water and sewer bills. DWSD is updating its drainage charge program to ensure all city parcels are equitably billed for their share of drainage costs.

State regulation requires DWSD to rid millions of gallons more stormwater flow from the city’s combined sewers or invest an additional $1 billion in “gray” infrastructure. Together with the business and nonprofit community, DWSD is using green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) to meet permit requirements and make Detroit one of the “greenest” cities in America.

Nonresidential customers who reduce stormwater runoff on their property – by disconnecting from the sewer system, planting rain gardens, installing detention areas and pervious pavement – can earn credits to be applied to your bill. A $5 million per year Capital Partnership Program has been established to provide a 50/50 match for approved nonresidential GSI projects.

Nonresidential Property Owners: Want to verify your parcel data, dispute
your drainage charge or assess your property for a drainage charge credit?