Eno River Watershed

Land that drains into the Eno River is known as its watershed. The Eno River watershed extends from the Town of Hillsborough through Orange County before reaching the City of Durham. Much of the northern portion of the City of Durham is located in the Eno River Watershed. Land use in the area includes typical suburban development as well as commercial and industrial areas. A significant portion of the land around the Eno River is protected in parks, including the Penny’s Bend Nature Preserve and West Point on the Eno Park.

Water from the Eno River flows into Falls Lake. From there it flows into the Neuse River and then the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound before emptying into the ocean.

Stream Water Quality


Stormwater Services staff tracked water quality at one site on the Eno River in 2015. The health and cleanliness of the watershed is reported in Durham’s annual State of Our Streams report. The Eno River was given a score of 91 in 2015. This compares to an "A" letter grade. The Eno River watershed has some problems with high fecal coliform (a bacteria associated with raw sewage) levels.

The state does not believe these water quality concerns are enough to keep the Eno River from its intended uses by people and wildlife. The state has not put any portions of the Eno River in Durham on a list of impaired water bodies, also known as the 303(d) list.

Stormwater Projects in the Eno River Watershed


Water Pollution Investigations

Stormwater Services staff investigates water pollution reported by other city employees and Durham residents. In the 2015-2016 reporting year, staff found pollution sources in 20 investigations. They included:
  • sanitary sewage
  • yard waste
  • petroleum
  • grease stored improperly at restaurants. 
Stormwater Services encourages neighbors to discuss and discourage putting trash, wash water, grease, or other pollution into storm drains. Anything that goes into storm drains does not get treated and, in this watershed, eventually washes into the Eno River. Residents can also call the Stormwater Hotline (919-560-SWIM) to report water pollution.

Watershed Improvement Plan

The Public Works Department is working on the Eno River Watershed Improvement Plan. The City has contracted with AECOM to work with the City's Stormwater and GIS Services Division to prepare an engineering study and assessment of the Eno River watershed. The Eno River Watershed Improvement Project is part of the City of Durham’s efforts to improve the health of our creeks and to comply with water quality regulations. Find out more here.


Get Involved


There are many ways for you to help protect the health of the Eno River. You can adopt a portion of the creek or volunteer to label storm drains. There are also two major stream clean-ups each year. Big Sweep is the 1st weekend in October and Creek Week is the last weekend in March. Email the public education coordinator for details.

Dedicated Groups


You can also join some of the many groups dedicated to protecting the health of our rivers and streams. Both the Eno River Association and the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation are active in this watershed.