Watershed Assessment Results

Significantly improving water quality in Ellerbe Creek is possible, but it will take time. Brown and Caldwell recommended the following actions to restore water quality.

Reduce Sewage Entering the Creek
Estimated Cost: $60 Million
The city needs to finish repairs and replace old parts of the sanitary sewer system in the watershed. It should also upgrade the North Durham Water Reclamation Facility. This would reduce fecal coliform bacteria in the watershed by 59%. Total nitrogen would be reduced by 4% and total phosphorus by 20%.

16 High Priority Stormwater Control Measure Projects
Estimated Cost: $31 Million
Brown and Caldwell suggest connecting 16 new stormwater control measures (SCM) to the current drainage system.

16 High Priority Stream Restoration and Stabilization Projects
Estimated Cost: $18 Million
Streams and their banks affect flooding, erosion, and aquatic habitats. In addition they impact how residents can use the creek for activities like swimming and fishing. The high priority stream restoration projects focus on South Ellerbe Creek, Goose Creek, and the main channel of Ellerbe Creek.

Protect Plants Along Stream Banks
Plants along streams prevent erosion, naturally treat pollution, provide fish and wildlife habitats, and help prevent floods. A planted area along a stream is often called a buffer. A Riparian Area Management Plan (RAMP) was created to help the City better protect these buffers on public properties. This is covered in Section 10.3 of the WIP.

Protect Undeveloped Areas
Brown and Caldwell identified 324 parcels valued at $60 million that should be protected. Keeping these properties in their natural state would help protect water quality by preventing and treating pollution. In addition, they would provide natural habitats and recreational opportunities. This is covered in Section 10.2 of the WIP.

A more detailed overview of these recommendations is available. The complete recommendations, along with priority project lists, are available in the WIP. These results were presented to Durham residents at a public meeting. The information presented at the meeting is available below.

Public Meeting November 19, 2009
To learn about which parts of this plan have been put in place, check the Special Projects section of the Ellerbe Creek Watershed website.