DeKalb County’s Free Plumbing Program

DeKalb County’s Free Plumbing Program

Do you live in DeKalb County? Need help with your plumbing job or mounting water bill debt? The DeKalb Cares water repair program could be the solution for you.

On August 1, 2022, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners announced that water and sewer bills for residents across the county would increase by 6%, in exchange for more than $2 billion for improvements to DeKalb’s water and sewer infrastructure finance.

The increase is said to be It was the first time in seven years that the county had raised prices for customers. The news also came almost a year after the county ended its long-standing moratorium, which required the county’s Department of Watershed Management to shut down services for non-payment.

As electricity tariffs rise across the country, black citizens are increasingly facing the growing burden alongside other economic pressures such as inflation.

Efforts are currently underway at DeKalb to disconnect customers who have not made any payments in the last six billing cycles.

While some local residents have complained of unusually high water bills due to various water supply issues, here is a solution that can help you get your water bill under control for free.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is the DeKalb Cares Water Repair Program?

A county-operated service that provides free plumbing to low-income residents in DeKalb County.

The program is administered by the county’s community development department and occurs on an annual cycle.

Is there an application process? Am I eligible to apply?

The district is currently accepting applications for the program. The application deadline is December 31, 2023. To apply, you must be a resident of DeKalb County and require repairs to your primary residence.

The program imposes income restrictions based on household size. To determine eligibility, a homeowner’s total household income must be 60% or less of the median area income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The current income criteria are:

  • $40,500 for a one-person household
  • $46,350 for a two-person household
  • $52,080 for a three-person household
  • $57,840 for a four-person household
  • $62,520 for a five-person household

All applicants are required to submit admissions documentation.

The application can be requested in person at the Community Development office at 178 Sams St., Suite A3500, in Decatur or online here.

I am eligible. What happens next?

If you get a permit, the county will conduct inspections at your home to determine what services you need.

Once the approved inspections are complete, qualified plumbers will complete any eligible repairs at no cost to you.

What services can I count on?

Although the program is free, only these four services are provided:

  • Private sewer rehabilitation
  • Conversion of septic tank to sewer
  • Water leaks (high water consumption)
  • Water leaks (bad weather problems)

If you face other problems, you may need to use private plumbing services.

What happens if I don’t qualify for this program? Are there other services that can help with water or utility issues?

Help is still available.

The DeKalb DWM has provided over $8.5 million to several customer assistance programs that help with payment assistance, including Partnership for Community Action, Urban League of Greater Atlanta, DeKalb Cares (DeKalb County Community Development Department), and Tenant-Landlord Assistance coalition.

The DeKalb DWM offers payment plans for those who may be behind on their bill and also need help. To set up an installment plan, customers should call (404) 378-4475 or email

If you believe your bill is incorrect, DeKalb County also has a dispute resolution process. In the event of a dispute, affected customers should call (404) 371-3000.

The DeKalb Family and Children’s Services Division has funds available to support households that have experienced an unexpected crisis or emergencies that have resulted in late, overdue payments on important utility bills.

If you are eligible for relief, you can download the DFCS application here.

Other federal and state resources such as the Low Income Housing Water Assistance Program and the Salvation Army’s Project Share Program are available to eligible residents.