State Announces $223M for Drinking Water and Wastewater Project Funding Statewide

Last Updated on July 24, 2023 7:43 pm

July 20, 2023, RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced today that communities statewide will receive $223,019,448 in water and wastewater infrastructure funding to help pay for 60 projects in 40 counties, including 41 construction projects. Over the last two years, North Carolina has invested $2.8 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure across the state.

“This funding will help us achieve our goal of safer, cleaner drinking water for all North Carolinians,” said Governor Cooper. “We have already seen the positive impacts funding like this can have for drinking and wastewater projects across our state and are ready to get to work to help more communities.”

Notable projects include:

  • Town of Plymouth in Washington County, a local government unit designated by the State Water Infrastructure Authority and the Local Government Commission as Distressed, will receive up to $7.3 million in low-interest loans for their water system improvement project replacing all of the Town’s old water metering systems and old galvanized water lines, as well as up to $9 million in low-interest loans to replace old sewer lines and reduce inflow and infiltration.  
  • Aqua North Carolina, Inc., an investor-owned public water utility, will receive up to approximately $3.4 million in loans to install PFAS treatment units at their Brookwood, Wyntree, and Willow Hill water systems.
  • Edgecombe County will receive up to $2.7 million in grants and loans to extend sewer service to approximately 91 connections to the residents of the Lone Pine Mobile Home Park in a disadvantaged area that is currently being served by individual septic tanks in varying degrees of failure.
  • Town of Brunswick in Columbus County will receive up to $2 million in grants for their Water System Resiliency Improvements Phase 2 project to install a new elevated tank addressing water pressure issues, install fire hydrants, and abandon two wells that are being replaced.
  • Town of Fair Bluff in Columbus County will receive up to $3 million in grants for their 2023 Gravity Sewer Improvements project to rehabilitate nearly 50-year-old sewer lines, manholes, and service laterals to reduce inflow and infiltration.
  • Cape Fear Public Utility Authority will receive up to $35 million in loans for a project to replace and expand its Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant, including the addition of a new activated sludge treatment process.
  • Town of Beech Mountain in Watauga County will receive up to $3 million in loans to rehabilitate and replace a major portion of its sewer collection system that has caused sanitary sewer overflows at the Pond Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and in watersheds that are classified as water supply sources.
  • Town of Farmville in Pitt County will receive up to $3 million in loans and principal forgiveness to develop its reclaimed water infrastructure to serve industry in the Town and the County.
  • Town of Lake Lure in Rutherford County will receive up to $7 million in loans to construct gravity sewer lines and complete a partnership between the Town and Chimney Rock Village through a physical interconnection of their wastewater systems.
  • Town of Nashville in Nash County will receive up to $1.6 million in grants and loans to extend sewer service and connect approximately 42 residences in two subdivisions, replacing failing septic systems and installing infrastructure to improve resiliency of their wastewater system.
  • Hyde County will receive up to $400,000 in grants to develop a comprehensive Stormwater Master Plan for Ocracoke Village and capital improvement plan that will include conceptual design plans for three stormwater projects.
  • Town of Elkin in Surry County will receive up to $315,000 in grants to develop a stormwater plan to protect Elkin Creek through nature-based techniques to stabilize a stream, minimize erosion, and control runoff through stormwater control measures.

A list of all Spring 2023 project applications selected by the State Water Infrastructure Authority on July 18 is available on the Department of Environmental Quality’s website. Over the last two years, the Authority has approved funding for 770 drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater construction and planning projects, for a total of $1.6 billion.

DEQ’s Division of Water Infrastructure reviewed 338 eligible applications from 83 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, requesting $2.676 billion.

“With each funding round, we continue to see that the need for infrastructure funding is far greater than the funding available,” said Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. DEQ is focused on providing funding to the communities that need it most to address aging infrastructure, PFAS contamination and access to affordable clean water and sewer service.”

The State Water Infrastructure Authority approved the awards during its July 18 meeting, using the State Revolving Funds (SRF) to provide low-interest loans and Principal Forgiveness loans. Funding from the Community Development Block Grant-Infrastructure program also provides grants to fund wastewater and drinking water projects in areas that meet the U.S. Housing and Urban Development low-to-moderate income threshold. In addition to the SRF funds typically available, this round included $58.9 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) general supplemental funds. Applications for addressing emerging contaminants (e.g. PFAS) and for identifying and replacing lead service lines were also accepted. Additional BIL funding to address emerging contaminants will be available in the Fall 2023 funding round.

Stormwater planning projects were considered for funding from the Local Assistance for Stormwater Infrastructure Investments (LASII) fund for stormwater planning grants to conduct research or investigative studies, alternatives analyses, the preparation of engineering concept plans or engineering designs, and similar activities.

The Authority is an independent body with primary responsibility for awarding federal and state funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Other responsibilities include developing a state water infrastructure master plan, recommending ways to maximize the use of available loan and grant funding resources, and examining best and emerging practices. 

The application period for the Fall 2023 funding round for water and wastewater infrastructure projects opens on Aug. 2 and ends on Oct. 2 at 5:00 p.m. Funding application training for this round will be provided through five in-person statewide sessions Aug. 2-10, with a virtual option available and a recorded training session to be available on the Division website. The training session time and location schedule is available on the Division website.

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