Ellerbe Creek watershed has the highest population density of Durham’s watersheds. Water from Ellerbe Creek flows into Falls Lake, then it follows the Neuse River to the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound before emptying into the ocean.
Water quality concerns keep Ellerbe Creek from its intended uses by people and wildlife. The State has added the creek to a list of impaired water bodies, also known as the 303(d) list. This means the city will need to take steps to find and reduce sources of pollution in the creek.
The health and cleanliness of the watershed are reported in Durham’s annual State of Our Streams Report. In years when staff is able to take a wide variety of tests, the watershed is also given a score. Ellerbe Creek received a score of 66 in 2022. This compares to a "D" letter grade. This is down from the grade of 73 it received in 2021. You can find previous State of Our Streams reports at the bottom of this webpage.
70 sources of pollution were investigated and eliminated during the 2022 reporting year. This is a list of the pollution sources our team found based on investigations and stormwater hotline (919-560-7946) tips.The top sources of pollution identified within the city in 2022 were:
erosion and sediment discharges
city sanitary sewer discharges
improper yard waste disposal
public sanitary sewer discharges
Watershed Improvement Plan
This plan is designed to further evaluate pollution sources and identify specific projects and measures to prevent future water pollution and help repair current problems. The final goal of this plan is the development of an implementation strategy.