Wednesday, February 21, 2024

State Announces $238M for Drinking Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Projects Statewide

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that communities statewide will receive more than 238 million in water and wastewater infrastructure funding and stormwater planning grants to help pay for 114 projects in 52 counties statewide, including 28 construction projects.
Feb 21, 2024

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that communities statewide will receive more than 238 million in water and wastewater infrastructure funding and stormwater planning grants to help pay for 114 projects in 52 counties statewide, including 28 construction projects. The awards include drinking water, wastewater and stormwater projects, as well as lead service line inventories and replacements. 

"This funding will help communities across the state access clean drinking water and set up critical infrastructures to better prepare for the future," said Governor Cooper. "We have seen the positive impact these grants have made, and it is important for us to continue to provide more aid, especially for communities dealing with the impacts of forever chemicals." 

Notable projects include:

  • The Town of Warrenton (Warren County), a local government unit designated as distressed, will receive up to $1.56 million in grants (principal forgiveness) to replace old and deteriorated galvanized and cast-iron water lines.
  • Fayetteville Public Works Commission will receive up to $30.5 million in loans and grants (principal forgiveness) to design and construct new treatment facilities to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in anticipation of future drinking water regulations.
  • The Town of Weldon (Halifax County) will receive up to $25 million, including $6 million in (principal forgiveness) to replace its Water Treatment Plant. The new facility, which provides service to a disadvantaged area, will include treatment for removal of PFAS and will provide improved resiliency and more reliable drinking water service by locating the new water treatment plant above the 500-year floodplain.
  • Carolina Water Service, Inc. of North Carolina, an investor-owned public water utility, will receive up to $495,980 in loans to install treatment to remove radium and uranium contamination within groundwater wells in the Amber Acres North service area (Wake County). 
  • The City of Whiteville (Columbus County) will receive up to $6.8 million, including $1.5 million in principal forgiveness, for replacement and rehabilitation of gravity sewer and upgrades at two lift stations.
  • Gates County will receive up to $2.2 million for removal and replacement of lagoon lining, repairs on the spray irrigation field, installation of an emergency generator and SCADA system, replacement of the chemical feed system and installation of a new flow meter. 
  • Cumberland County will receive up to $5.3 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Emerging Contaminants grants (principal forgiveness) to install a reverse osmosis system to reduce PFAS in its landfill leachate. 
  • The Towns of Jefferson (Ashe County) and Angier (Harnett County) were approved for $1.9 million each to locate and replace lead service lines. 
  • The Town of Waynesville (Haywood County) will receive $1.9 million in Community Development Block Grant-Infrastructure grants to replace old clay sewer lines and install new water lines and connections in areas serving low-to-moderate income households.
  • The Town of Lillington (Harnett County) will receive up to $500,000 to develop and implement a new stormwater utility. The new stormwater utility will generate revenue for the town to operate and maintain its stormwater system rather than using general funds.
  • The City of Jacksonville (Onslow County) will receive up to $400,000 to develop a Watershed Action Plan, looking at the impacts of stormwater on a watershed scale to minimize the impacts of stormwater on the New River. 
  • The City of Goldsboro (Wayne County), a local government unit designated as Distressed, will receive $260,000 in Viable Utility Reserve funding to continue investigating merger and regionalization options for the broader Wayne County drinking water and wastewater systems, including the Towns of Fremont, Eureka, Mount Olive and Pikeville. 
  • The Town of Lilesville (Anson County), a local government unit designated as distressed, will receive $300,000 in State Reserve Program funding, $150,000 each for the drinking water and wastewater systems, to inventory and assess both systems, including developing GIS-level mapping, an asset management plan and updating their existing capital improvement plans. 

DEQ’s Division of Water Infrastructure reviewed 275 eligible applications from 75 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, requesting $2.29 billion.  The State Water Infrastructure Authority approved the awards during its Feb. 20 meeting. A list of all projects selected for funding is available on the Department of Environmental Quality website. 

Funding this round came from the Drinking Water (DWSRF) and Clean Water (CWSRF) State Revolving Funds, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) General Supplemental Funds, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law DWSRF-Emerging Contaminants fund (BIL DWSRF-EC), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law CWSRF-Emerging Contaminants fund (BIL CWSRF-EC), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law DWSRF Lead Service Line Replacement fund (BIL DWSRF-LSLR)the Drinking Water and Wastewater Reserves (State Reserves), the Viable Utilities Reserve (VUR), the Community Development Block Grant-Infrastructure (CDBG-I) program and the Local Assistance for Stormwater Infrastructure Investments (LASII) fund. Projects funded with Viable Utility Reserve funds are subject to approval by the Local Government Commission.

The State Revolving Funds provide low-interest loans and Principal Forgiveness loans. Funding from the CDBG-I program 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, this round included 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 was available for the first time in this funding round. Stormwater planning projects were considered for funding from the LASII fund from SL 2023-134 appropriations 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 Authorityis an independent body with primary responsibility for awarding federal and state funding for water 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 Spring 2024 funding round for water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects opens on Feb. 27 and ends on April 30 at 5 p.m. Funding application training for this round will be provided through five in-person statewide sessions Feb. 27 through March 8, 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 DEQ website. 

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