DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond says efforts are underway to clean the county’s sewer system and that accurate water bills are now being mailed to customers.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond updates the Dunwoody City Council on county issues. (City of Dunwoody)

At the April 24 Dunwoody City Council meeting, Thurmond gave a brief presentation addressing water billing and the county’s sewer system, among other issues.

“We are making steps … to improve the accuracy and …integrity of the system,” Thurmond said.

Water billing has long been a problem for residents living in DeKalb who have complained for many months that they have received outrageously high water bills. Thurmond said he believes the county is on track to fix the problems he inherited when he took office in January.

He also said complaints and calls from customers “have dropped significantly.”

Earlier this month, the county mailed 8,000 water bills that had been “held” because the county could not verify their accuracy. Thurmond said those 8,000 were now deemed accurate.

Thurmond also addressed concerns that the county’s sewage system does not have the capacity to handle the continued growth and development in the county.

Thurmond said the major blockages in the system are not due to new development, but rather people pouring fats, oil and grease down the pipes.

In 2010, the county said it would clean the sewer system’s pipes as part of the consent decree it entered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to address sewage overflow, Thurmond said. That never took place, however, and the county is gearing up to clean the system this year.

The consent decree, Thurmond said, also identified that only 29 percent of the county’s sewer system had capacity issues.

“The system does not have a countywide problem,” he said. “We’re back to the future. We’re back to fundamentals.”

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.