Stormwater is runoff that occurs when rainwater falls onto surfaces like roads, roofs, driveways and parking lots and does not soak into the ground. Our division makes sure that the City of Durham's stormwater system works for both our residents and also Durham's natural environment.
Under the Federal Clean Water Act, Durham is required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge stormwater into streams. Since storm drains flow directly to streams without any treatment, all residents and businesses play a role in preventing polluted runoff. The SW & GIS Division at the City of Durham ensures our compliance in a number of different ways. You can read more about what we do below.
The Stormwater Development Review section is tasked with reviewing rezonings, site plans, stormwater impact analyses, preliminary plats, construction drawings, engineering calculations, and final plats to ensure proposed development is in compliance with the city ordinances which regulate stormwater quality and quantity, stormwater best management practices, stream buffers, etc. The section also ensures post-development stormwater compliance through annual SCM maintenance certifications, inspections, and enforcement.
The GIS group is responsible for the collection, creation, and management of location-based information pertaining to the City. We provide data and analysis to City Departments utilizing geographic data from surveys, plats, spreadsheets, GPS units, and paper files and providing internal and external users an easy-to-use interface through the creation and maintenance of interactive webmap applications.
The Stormwater Infrastructure group is responsible for non-routine repair and improvement of stormwater infrastructure, drainage customer response, and floodplain management services. The Drainage and Floodplain Unit (DFU) investigates and responds to customer inquiries regarding private drainage/flooding issues and provides technical support for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), coordinates flood mitigation grant submittals, and processes private drainage assistance requests.
The Stormwater Quality group at the City of Durham protects and restores our water quality. We work to increase understanding of pollutant sources and impacts, promote sustainable behaviors, and develop cost-effective solutions to pollution problems. We also monitor streams and perform illicit discharge detection & elimination to measure the health of our streams and prevent future pollution.
The Watershed Restoration group is responsible for watershed planning, existing development retrofits, green stormwater infrastructure, and public education and involvement. The group provides support in complying with state and federal regulations for stormwater and nutrient management.
The group creates and updates watershed improvement plans that evaluate watershed health, identify pollutant hotspots, assess the condition of stormwater control measures and streams, recommend projects to improve water quality, educate the public about how they can help, and help meet federal and state regulations. The group implements existing development retrofit projects including residential stormwater retrofit projects, stream restoration and stabilization projects, and green stormwater infrastructure such as bioretention cells. The group helps implement the public education and involvement programs to meet NPDES permit requirements and to increase public engagement with City projects and services.