West End Water and Sewer Rehabilitation Project

Project Update - September 17, 2023

Smoke Test Survey
A smoke test survey is scheduled to begin the week of September 25. Door hangers will be placed on properties in the testing area (see map below) the week of September 18. Weather permitting, it is anticipated that the smoke test survey will be completed the week of September 25.

This survey will assist our inspection crews in locating breaks and defects in the sewer system. During the survey, non-toxic smoke is introduced into a manhole and forced down the sewer lines with the use of an air blower. Smoke will escape from the system at any point where there is an open break in the line. For example smoke may rise from the ground in yards, stream banks, storm drains, etc. Smoke will also escape from all manhole lids, vents on the building roofs, cleanouts, and from underneath buildings if poor plumbing exists. Be advised that smoke can enter your home, office, or place of business.

The smoke is:

  • Non-toxic
  • Non-staining
  • Has a slight odor
  • White to gray in color
  • Does not create a fire hazard 

Smoke Testing AreaMap of West End Sanitary Inspections Opens in new windowClosed Circuit TV (CCTV) Inspection
Beginning the week of September 18, the contractor will begin performing CCTV inspection of sewer lines in the project area (map above). CCTV assists with determining the condition of the sewer lines and involves a small crew with one to two vehicles. During testing, one lane of the roadway may be closed to safely allow the CCTV crew access to the manholes and sewer lines. These lane closures are temporary in nature.


The Department of Water Management is improving water and sewer infrastructure in the West End area southwest of Downtown generally from Chapel Hill Street to the Forest Hills area between Rosedale Ave and Blackwell St / University Ave as shown on the map below. The project area does not include areas that were previously rehabilitated or replaced.

Many of the existing waterlines and sanitary sewer lines within the project area were installed in the early 1900s and have reached the end of their useable life. The Assessment phase of this project will begin in early 2023 and is intended to identify the condition of existing water and sanitary sewer utilities. Assessment activities may include survey; water meter, fire hydrant and water valve assessments; stormwater and sanitary sewer main inspection; flow monitoring; dye testing; and smoke testing. The project will replace existing water and sanitary sewer infrastructure in the project area that have reached the end of their useful life and/or require additional capacity.

As part of the Assessment phase, a design and construction phasing plan will be developed to complete all required upgrades to the existing infrastructure within the study area. The City anticipates that the required improvements will be packaged into four or five primary phases.

Following the Assessment phase, the consultant will move into the Study/Design phase, which will include topographical survey, geotechnical borings, and Level A SUE. Project phasing areas and anticipated schedules will be provided as the assessment phase is completed.


West End Water and Sewer Rehabilitation Project Brochure  

Project Area Map
Map of the project area for the Main and Broad Street Waterline Replacement project. Opens in new window

If you want to receive project design and construction updates, please contact one of the project managers. 


  1. Why is this project needed?
    • This project will replace deteriorating and undersized waterlines within the project area that were installed in the early 1900’s to ensure reliable water service and sufficient fire flow is provided to customers.   Additionally, the project will evaluate existing sanitary sewer mains, manholes, and sewer services in the project area to confirm condition and capacity.  The project area does not include areas that were previously rehabilitated or replaced as part of prior DWM projects.
  2. What impacts can be expected during the Assessment phase of the project?
    • Limited field survey of the existing utilities in the project area.
    • Existing waterline assessments, including water meter assessments, fire hydrant assessments, and water valve assessments
    • No water service interruptions are expected during these assessments.  
    • Sanitary sewer assessments may include internal CCTV inspections of existing mains, dye testing of existing sanitary sewer services, and smoke testing to identify breaks in existing sewer components.
    • No sanitary sewer interruptions are anticipated during these assessments.
    • It may be necessary for representatives to access buildings to complete dye testing.   If access is needed, a time will be scheduled when the resident is available.  
  3. What impacts can be expected during the Study/Design phase of the project?\
    • Field survey of the existing utilities in the project area.
    • Non-toxic temporary paint will be used to mark the location of buried utilities in the project area. The temporary paint will wash away in several weeks depending on rain, traffic, etc.
    • Localized borings will be required to obtain information about existing utility locations and geotechnical conditions.
    • Sound levels associated with localized borings are anticipated to be between 70 and 90 decibels.
    • Pedestrian and traffic impacts within the project limits are expected to be limited.
    • Small pavement cuts may be required and will be temporarily patched.
    • Work of this nature will be conducted within daytime hours. If “off hours” work is required advance notice shall be provided.
  4. What impacts can be expected during the Construction phase of the project?
    • Construction will occur within existing right-of-way or recorded water / sewer easements. All property owners will be provided notice in advance of construction near their property
    • There will be pedestrian, traffic, and noise impacts during construction
    • The City’s contractor will be required to maintain access to residences and businesses at all times
    • Sound levels near active construction areas are anticipated to be between 70 and 90 decibels, with some limited work in high traffic areas occurring during overnight hours
    • Appropriate communication and signage will direct property owners, residents, and businesses in the area with regards to any impacts throughout construction
    • At the completion of the project, disturbed areas along roadways and sidewalks will be repaved, and lawns will be graded and reseeded.
  5. What is geotechnical boring and Level A SUE?
    • Subcontractors for the City of Durham will be performing subsurface investigations during the project’s Study / Design phase to locate existing buried utilities and determine soil properties. This information will be used to avoid conflicts with existing utilities during the design and construction phases, in addition to allowing the contractor to prepare for anticipated soil conditions during construction. Lane closures lasting several hours will be used at each of the subsurface investigation locations throughout the project area. Small amounts of soil will be removed via an auger or vacuum to complete the investigation, followed by repairing the excavation.
  6. Will my water service be affected by the project?
    • During the construction phase, existing water meters in the project area will be reconnected to the newly installed waterlines. It is possible that you will be without water for a short duration (typically a few hours) while this transition takes place. Any service interruptions will be communicated with property owners in advance.

How do I get more information?

The City will provide status updates via the City website on its page for current projects. You may also contact the project contacts listed above. Public Meetings will be scheduled to discuss the project in more detail, address transportation or other impacts, and answer any other questions regarding the project.

Contact Info:

City of Durham Water Management: 
Kasim Azhar
(919) 560-4381, ext. 35520
Email Kasim Azhar

Kimley-Horn and Associates:
Nolan Raney
Email Nolan Raney