Environment

In north Durham, scientists tackle the health of the Eno River Watershed; public can comment

A map of the Eno River Watershed in the northern part of Durham

        A map of the Eno River Watershed in Durham (Map courtesy City of Durham)

For the next three weeks, a regiment of scientists and engineers, armed with dippers and water sampling bottles, will travel 72 miles of stream banks in the Eno River Watershed in Durham. They will evaluate stream conditions and water quality in this portion of the watershed — which drains all the way to the Atlantic Ocean — to determine how much pollution is entering the water, from where, and how to reduce it.

In 2014, the Eno River received grade of 91, or an A, by city stormwater staff. However, there are lingering problems with high levels of fecal coliform, which comes from raw sewage. Fortunately, no part of the watershed in Durham was placed on the federal 303(d) list of impaired waters.

The Eno River and its watershed extend from Hillsborough in Orange County into Durham. From there, the Eno River flows into Falls Lake, a major drinking water source for Raleigh. Falls Lake then drains into the Neuse River, and the water travels another 275 miles before emptying into the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

The City is now accepting public comment on the selected stream segments, listed on the map. Many of these streams, as well as the Eno itself, run through residential neighborhoods and commercial districts in the northern part of the city and county. Contact Sandra Wilbur at Sandra.Wilbur@DurhamNC.gov or (919) 560-4326 ext. 30286.

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