About Wastewater

The South Durham Water Reclamation Facility from the air, tanks and buildings and trees.Durham sits on a ridge line that generally runs along Pettigrew Street and the railroad track. Ridge lines and topography determine drainage areas. Due to this factor, we have two water reclamation facilities (WRFs) serving the city and a significant portion of Durham County.

The North Durham Water Reclamation Facility is on East Club Boulevard. It has a permitted capacity of 20 million gallons a day (MGD) and discharges into Ellerbe Creek in the Neuse basin. The South Durham Water Reclamation Facility (pictured above) is on Farrington Road near Highway 54. It has a permitted capacity of 20 MGD and discharges into the upper arm of New Hope Creek in the Cape Fear basin. Although the facilities have a combined capacity of 40 MGD, they are currently running at about 50% of capacity.

Durham County owns and operates a separate facility which serves the Research Triangle Park and adjacent areas.

Graphic image of a toilet, toilet paper, wipes with a red X mark, and paper towels with a red X markCITY'S ANNUAL SEWER REPORT

In March, with toilet paper vanishing from store shelves, people everywhere resorted to nonwoven hygiene products, and “flushable” wipes made headlines. Blocked pipes, overflowing sewers, and costly home plumbing problems struck communities across the country. This year’s sewer report covers the first three months of the pandemic. We encourage you to take a look at the full document, which includes information on spills and overflows that occurred in FY 2020.

Depending on where you live in Durham, your waste may flow to the City’s North or South Durham Water Reclamation Facilities or to the County’s Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant. Our annual report, which includes data from both facilities, outlines wastewater treatment processes, compliance with permit conditions, and maintenance activities in the collection system. This report is submitted to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. Customers may also contact Water Management staff at 919-560-4381 for a hard copy or more information.

  1.  Wastewater Facilities
  2. Reclaimed Water
  3. About Biosolids
  4. Sewer System
  5. Sewer Maintenance
  6. Contact Water & Sewer

Water workers at monitors in the control room at the North Durham Wastewater Reclamation Facility.Each facility operates under a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This is a type of permit that limits the amounts of certain substances allowed in the discharge. That includes nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Each WRF is staffed 24/7 to ensure that processes are monitored around the clock.

The city’s centralized state-certified Water/Wastewater Laboratory is located at the South Durham WRF. In addition to conducting analyses for the water reclamation and treatment facilities, Lab staff also analyzes samples for the Industrial Pretreatment and Storm Water Services programs. For more detailed information about the city’s permit compliance history, view the Annual Sewer System Report.