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Engineered Solutions and Open Dialogue Keep DeKalb County Development Moving Forward

Civil Engineer

Jeremiah Phillips, PE, Associate

Antonio Sample

Antonio Sample, Project Civil Engineer

In compliance with a 2010 DeKalb County Consent Decree with the U.S. EPA and the Georgia EPD, DeKalb County has issued restrictions for any development that impacts the County’s sewer system. The decree, which includes a 5-year, $1.335 billion Capital Improvement Program, requires development projects to provide on-site storage of sanitary sewer flows during rain events. All new projects and those under construction that have not received a Certificate of Occupancy are required to provide for the on-site sewer storage. The impact of this decree could have significant cost and construction implications.

DeKalb County Department of Watershed management will review all Sewer Capacity Evaluation Request and Sewer Action Plan specific for each new development or redevelopment prior to issuing a Land Disturbance Permit. The Sewer Action Plan (SAP) outlines the department’s requirements for permitting. The plan must include: a plan concept to handle the sanitary sewer storage, storage of sewerage volumes as well as plans for decommissioning of the on-site system once the County has completed their system upgrade.

This on-site sewer storage implementation can be complex. An open dialogue with DeKalb County Officials to discuss site specific options is the best place to start. Our most recently approved solution provides an on-site storage tank with submersible pumps with a valve connected to a rain gauge sensor. Once the rain events stops, the tank is emptied by the submersible pump during the off-peak hours of 12 – 5 a.m., as required by the SAP.

“We had concerns regarding these new sewer requirements especially the added costs to project budgets. We are continuously working with the County to find the best management practice to meet the requirements and keep cost and schedule impacts to a minimum,” states Jeremiah Phillips, PE, project manager for an AGL office project in DeKalb County.

The DeKalb County Wastershed Management new Sewer System requirements will impact all development within the County, but acceptable design solutions are feasible through open communication and an understanding of engineering solutions.

The City of Atlanta Bureau of Planning also requires an SAP in some jurisdictions, but this is a Special Administrative Permit.

Authors: Jeremiah Phillips, PE and Antonio Sample

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