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.

  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 issue by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which limits the amounts of different substances, including nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus, which are allowed in the discharge. 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.