Governor Cooper Announces $194 Million for Water and Sewer System Improvements

Raleigh

Governor Roy Cooper announced today $194 million in loans and grants to help pay for 54 drinking water and wastewater projects. 

The project funding was approved July 8 by the State Water Infrastructure Authority. 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.

“North Carolina’s communities need strong, resilient water infrastructure to support economic development,” said Governor Cooper. “This funding provides water and wastewater improvements essential for clean water, public health and a brighter economic future.” 

Notable projects in the latest funding round include:

  • Everetts in Martin County will receive $609,800 from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, with principal forgiveness, for sewer rehabilitation as part of its merger with Robersonville. The town previously received a Merger/Regionalization Feasibility grant from the Division of Water Infrastructure, and through this current project, moves closer to viability.
  • Rockingham County will receive $1.79 million through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the Hogan’s Creek Water Booster Pump Station Relocation and Flood Protection project. This project will relocate a booster pumping station out of a flood plain to remove the risk of flooding. 
  • Ellerbe in Richmond County will receive $2,097,000 in combined funding through a Wastewater State Reserve grant and loan and a Clean Water State Revolving fund loan, with principal forgiveness, for rehabilitation of its sewer system.
  • Rocky Point Topsail Water and Sewer District in Pender County will receive $20 million in funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund/Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019 for its Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant and associated improvements. This project will construct a new water treatment plant in the hydraulically isolated eastern side of the system and install additional waterline to increase connectivity to other areas of the system.

A list of all projects funded statewide by town and/or county is available at: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/WI/July-2020-State-Water-Infrastructure-Authority-Funding-Approvals--002-.pdf

The grants and loans are funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program, the Wastewater State Reserve program, and through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019 (or ASADRA). ASADRA funding provides for resiliency-focused projects at drinking water facilities and wastewater treatment works impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. The state provided $17,560,800 in required matching funds. 

NC Session law 2019-224 2.1(3) also appropriated funds for Hurricane Florence disaster relief. Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Environmental Quality, the department made available $3.14 million for water and wastewater infrastructure. To best utilize the available funds, the disaster relief funds were used to supplement funding for ASADRA-eligible projects located in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence. The following projects were funded with the Disaster Relief (DR) department funds: 

  • Dublin in Bladen County will receive $644,231 in DR funding paired with a $225,750 state reserve loan and $33,019 state reserve grant for replacement of the Backer Creek Sewer outfall.
  • Trenton in Jones County will receive $995,000 in DR funding, fully funding the 2020 Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations Building relocation.
  • Tabor City in Columbus County will receive $1,543,000 in DR funding, fully funding the Gore Street Pump Station relocation and flood protection.

“Reliable water infrastructure has never been more important for North Carolina’s communities. For them, this funding means economic opportunity, clean water they can count on, and the resiliency they need to face today's challenges, including our state’s frequent hurricanes and storms,” said Secretary Michael S. Regan of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Dependable and resilient water and sewer systems are vital for the state’s quality of life and economic and environmental future. Studies show that North Carolina needs from $17 billion to $26 billion in upgrades to its water and sewer infrastructure statewide.

HOW TO APPLY FOR FUNDING

The application period for the authority’s next round of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects ends on Sept. 30. The Division of Water Infrastructure will conduct training sessions available virtually July 29 through Aug. 14 for applicants interested in applying for the next round of funds. The training schedule and instructions for registering and attending virtually through WebEx are available at: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/WI/2020-Fall-Training-Announcement.pdf

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