Drainage Charge

Are you a RESIDENT or NON-RESIDENTIAL property owner?


Residents: Drainage Charge Facts

Your drainage fee is based on the actual amount of hard surfaces on your property that send rainfall and snow melt into the sewer system.

Drainage graphic

Drainage Fee Pays for Infrastructure and Reduces Street Flooding and Backups

The drainage fee including on your bill from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) 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.

Where is the Drainage Charge on my water bill?

Drainage Charge Sample Bill Effective July 2019


Green Credit

Residential properties 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 to Identify Hard Surfaces on Your Property

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

  • STEP 1
    Go to 
  • 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.

Drainage Charge Rate for All Customers

View the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Rate Card, effective August 1, 2022, approved by the Board of Water Commissioners.

Resources for Nonresidential Property Owners

How Do You Verify Property Data?

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 DWSD Customer Care representative at 313-267-8000.

* Projected rates are subject to Board of Water Commissioners approval. Charge includes the 25% green credit, and only applies to households subject to the fee. Residential properties with less than 0.02 impervious acres will not be billed.

Capital Partnership Program

The Capital Partnership Program is currently on hold at this time.

Shared Stormwater Management Practice

In some situations, a Stormwater Management or Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) practice is located on a parcel that is separate from where the stormwater runoff is generated. This may include circumstances where a single parcel owner with multiple parcels or multiple parcel owners construct a Shared Stormwater Management Practice. The resulting GSI or Green Credit can be shared among the parcel owners participating in the Shared Stormwater Management Practice.  DWSD will assess the practice performance and if credit requirements are achieved by a shared practice, each property owner will be granted a credit for their agreed allocated share.

How do I apply?

Complete the application by downloading the Drainage Charge Credit Application – Shared Stormwater Management Practice and follow the instructions on the form.

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.

Nonresidential Property Owners: Want to assess your property for a drainage charge credit?

Effective July 9, 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and in following the CDC guidelines, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has temporarily suspended on-property engineering analysis (site visits) for non-residential site assessments until further notice.  Non-residential customers can continue to initiate the site assessment process at the link above.  Customers can validate property data (step 1) and understand credit eligibility (step 2) by phone, email or virtual meeting. 

Note: customers who have Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) installed on their property can complete and submit a Drainage Credit application without a site assessment.

If you have questions, please contact:

  • Syed Ali, Stormwater Management Group Engineer, at 313-999-2755 or [email protected], or
  • Stormwater Management Group at [email protected]. Please include “Site Assessments – Engineering Analysis” in the subject.