Stormwater Management

Stormwater is one of the five central utilities managed, maintained and operated by the University.

The City of Durham is the monitoring agency for Duke’s stormwater. To accompany each site plan for new buildings, Durham requires Duke to run a Stormwater Impact Analysis (SIA) model for the entire campus. The City of Durham also charges a monthly stormwater fee based on the amount of impervious surface on campus. The City requires analysis of the quantity and quality of stormwater leaving campus, including analysis of Nitrogen, Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and Phosphorus.

In order to comply with Durham’s stormwater regulations, Duke University has a stormwater system consisting of 32 miles of pipelines, numerous streams and open channels, several cisterns and detention devices, and multiple ponds (in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, near the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Course, and at the Smith Warehouse).


SWAMPThe first phase of the Duke SWAMP Site (Stream and Wetland Assessment Management Park) was implemented in 2004. Today, this 14-acre restored stream-wetland-lake complex helps protect the Triangle’s drinking water supply by controlling stormwater runoff that drains into the Sandy Creek watershed from campus and 1,200 surrounding acres.

This facility also serves as an outdoor classroom and field laboratory for students and researchers interested in testing new wetland restoration technologies and studying biological diversity, hydrology, mosquito control, invasive plant species, and other environmental concerns. Read more about the SWAMP project.

Stream Restoration & Water Reclamation

A new reclamation pond will collect rainwater and runoff from 22 percent of the main campus area for use in a nearby chilled water plant, which pumps water across campus to cool buildings.  The pond is expected to save about 100 million gallons of potable water a year.  Duke is also helping to improve the watershed it relies on through a stream restoration project on campus.