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$127M to Fund Water Quality Projects

The state Water Infrastructure approved March 13 $127 million in loans and grants pay for 96 critical drinking water and wastewater projects across the state. File photo

RALEIGH — Several coastal towns and counties have been awarded funding to help improve water infrastructure, Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration announced Tuesday.

“Clean water is critical for our health and our economy,”  Cooper said. “These funds will help communities improve their water and sewer systems to ensure clean drinking water, support good jobs, and be better able to withstand future storms.”

Across the state, $127 million in loans and grants from various funding sources is to be distributed to pay for 96 drinking water and wastewater projects described as critical. The State Water Infrastructure Authority approved March 13 the funds.

“With the stresses of aging infrastructure and recent proof that storms can devastate water infrastructure, we must provide utilities with funding to strengthen water and sewer systems,” Michael Regan, secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality, said in a statement.

Source of funding and projects approved along the coast include the following:

  • Community Development Block Grant – Infrastructure provides grants to local governments to address water and wastewater infrastructure needs in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-, or HUD-qualified low- to moderate-income communities.
    • Bertie County: $2,000,000 for Aulander 2018 wastewater system improvements.
    • Hyde County: $1,200,000 for Hyde County/Engelhard Sanitary District force main extension.
    • Washington County: $175,000 for Plymouth Water System Improvements.
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) provides low-interest loans to local governments and certain nonprofit water corporations for projects to provide safe drinking water.
    • Pasquotank County: Elizabeth City raw water reservoir rehabilitation received a principal forgiveness loan of $804,977 and loan at $268,326.
    • Washington County: Roper 2018 water system improvements was awarded a principal forgiveness loan of $1,013,675.
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) provides low-interest loans to local governments to fund wastewater collection and treatment facilities as well as programs associated with estuary and nonpoint sources.
    • Hertford County: Murfreesboro sewer system rehabilitation received a principal forgiveness loan of $500,000 and loan at $723,000.
    • Bertie County: Windsor wastewater system improvements received a loan of $1,914,900.
  • Asset Inventory and Assessment (AIA) Grant Program provides grants for developing asset inventories, condition assessment of critical assets and other components of a comprehensive asset management programs.
    • Hertford County: Murfreesboro Wastewater AIA received $150,000 in funding.
    • Craven Vanceboro Wastewater AIA received $150,000 in funding.
    • Dare Manteo Wastewater System AIA received $150,000 in funding.
    • Bertie County: County Water District II Water System AIA received $65,800 in funding.
    • Bertie County; County Water District III Water AIA received $150,000 in funding.
    • Beaufort County: Aurora Wastewater AIA received $150,000 in funding.
    • Brunswick County: Shallotte Sewer System AIA received $150,000 in funding.
    • Pamlico County: Bay River MSD Sewer AIA received $150,000 in funding.

Other projects awarded funding are listed on the website.

Local governments can apply for the authority’s next round of funding until April 30. The Division of Water Infrastructure is to conduct statewide training sessions for interested applicants March 22-28. The complete training schedule is online.

A review by the University of North Carolina Environmental Finance Center suggests that the state needs more than $17 billion in upgrades to water and sewer infrastructure statewide, according to the release.

Cooper proposes in the coming budget investing $800 million in local water and sewer projects through a bond vote. He also proposes investing in clean water through $6.3 million for water testing and analysis for per-flourinated compounds and other emerging compounds and providing more than $3 million to match additional federal funds for clean water and drinking water infrastructure.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.