Eno River Watershed

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Impacted Waters

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 follows the Neuse River into the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound before emptying into the ocean.


Get Involved

There are many ways for you to help protect the health of the Eno River.  You can adopt a drain or participate with NC Stream Watch. There are also two major stream clean-ups each year. Big Sweep is the 1st weekend in October and Creek Week is the third week in March. Email the public education coordinator for details.

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.

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 cleaned 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 completed the Eno River Watershed Improvement Plan. The City contracted with AECOM to work with the City's Stormwater and GIS Services Division in order 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.


Water Quality

The health and cleanliness of the watershed are reported in Durham’s annual State of Our Streams report. The Eno River was given a score of 82 in 2020. This compares to a "B" letter grade. This is down from 90 in 2019. This score was due to:

  • Poor bacteria levels
  • Good nutrient levels
  • Fair turbidity levels
  • Good aquatic life levels

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.


Water Pollution Investigations

Stormwater Services staff investigates water pollution reported by other city employees and Durham residents. In the 2020 reporting year, staff found pollution sources in 10 investigations. They included:

  • private sanitary sewer discharges
  • petroleum spills
  • public sanitary sewer discharges
  • cooking grease spills
See past summaries: