Burton Park Water Quality Notice

The City of Durham found an illegal discharge upstream of the creek running through Burton Park (1501 Sima Avenue) in the Third Fork Creek watershed. Chemical testing is underway to see how the creek downstream of this discharge is affected. Out of an abundance of caution, wading and/or playing in the creek is not allowed.

Brenntag Mid-South, Incorporated (Brenntag) tested water on their property located at 2000 E. Pettigrew St. The tests found high levels of toluene, ethanol, and acetone in water at the edge of the property boundary. The location failed the test for chronic toxicity, a measure of how a certain mix of chemicals can harm animals in the water over time. 

Latest News

9/5/2023: Sampling Data Results from August 24 Sampling Event  

8/25/2023: August 25 Questions and Responses

8/24/2023: City Stormwater staff collected water samples from downstream of the discharge. Laboratory reports from these samples are expected by 9/1/2023.

8/21/23: This week, water samples will be collected from the creek within Burton Park to see if the chemicals traveled downstream of the Brenntag property. The creek within the area of the park has been fenced off and signage has been installed.

8/16/23: Brenntag submitted a sampling report to the City as required by a Notice of Violation issued by the Public Works Stormwater Division. 

  1. Next Steps 
  2. Documents and Data
  3. Impacts of Chemicals
  4. Español

Next Steps and Remediation 

  • The Brenntag report submitted on August 16 was mandated by the City as part of ongoing City enforcement.
  • After receiving the Brenntag report on August 16, we immediately notified Brenntag to stop the illegal discharge, prepare a plain-language response to the report, and publish all relevant documents on a webpage
  • We have instructed Brenntag to expand their water quality monitoring to Burton Park and further downstream to determine the extent of the discharge and the number of public and private properties impacted.
  • The creek area within Burton Park is fenced off to the public and signage is installed.
  • Further advances in the remediation effort will be published on this webpage as well as any progress in identifying the source of the discharge.

Contact Us 


Michelle Woolfolk
Manager, Stormwater Quality

Jim Azarelo
Environmental Planning & Compliance Analyst, Stormwater Quality