Today, Governor Roy Cooper announced $462.9 million in funding for 249 infrastructure projects in 80 communities statewide that will strengthen North Carolina’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems. As part of this announcement, Governor Cooper and NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser toured water and wastewater treatment facilities in Davidson and Jackson counties.
Aging and failing water systems are an obstacle for communities across North Carolina, preventing reliable access to clean drinking water and sewer services, and harming health, quality of life and economic development efforts. The state typically invests approximately $200 million per year upgrading systems, but thanks to federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, North Carolina is investing $2.3 billion over two years supporting this critical infrastructure.
“Every single North Carolinian deserves clean drinking water, and aging water systems are a threat to the health and economies of too many of our communities,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Thanks to investments initiated by the Biden administration, we can make a once in a generation transformation in rebuilding water infrastructure for towns and counties throughout our state.”
“Investing in water infrastructure provides communities with reliable, affordable access to clean water and the opportunity for future economic growth,” NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser said. “The amount of funding requested highlights the extensive need for infrastructure investment across North Carolina.”
Governor Cooper and Secretary Biser announced the new round of funding at the Lexington Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. During the announcement, they highlighted $27.9 million in funding the city will receive to create a new dewatering facility that will provide sewer lines all across Davidson County.
In Jackson County, Governor Cooper and Secretary Biser toured the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority in Cullowhee. The Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority will receive $4,130,000 for a drinking water treatment plant clearwell and a high service pump replacement. The Tuckaseigee Water & Sewer Authority was created in 1992 and serves Jackson County and the Towns of Dillsboro, Sylva and Webster.
“As the regional utility service provider, we are grateful for the State’s support of our wastewater treatment facility,” Tom Johnson, Lexington Water Resources Utility Director said. “These grant funds will allow us to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of our infrastructure, safeguard environmental health, and support continued economic development growth in the central part of North Carolina.”
“Being able to move forward with the Clearwell and High Service Pump Replacement project makes our system much stronger and more resilient by adding much needed storage within our treatment process,” Daniel Manring, Executive Director of Tuckaseigee Water & Sewer Authority said. “This in addition to the high service pumps, will allow us to manage and maintain our distribution system in a more effective manner. Our goal is to be able to serve our community without disruption regardless of the circumstances and this is a big step to ensure that level of quality that we are known for. Having support from the NC Department of Environmental Quality in this program, along with several other programs we have participated in, is much appreciated.”
For this round of funding, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received 649 applications from 91 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, and reconsidered applications from Spring 2022. In total, 734 applications were considered for funding, representing more than $3.5 billion. The awards are funded by a portion of $2.3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act, State Revolving Funds (including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds), and Community Development Block Grant funding.
Notable construction projects include:
- Gray’s Creek Water and Sewer District in Cumberland County will receive $15 M to extend waterlines to serve 1,028 residences and two elementary schools in a region contaminated by GenX/PFAS.
- McDowell County will receive $2.8 M to install waterlines and approximately 107 new service connections to extend water service from the Nebo Public Water System to four residential communities of the Nebo East End Area served by community wells contaminated with coliforms.
- Town of Pittsboro in Chatham County will receive $17.9 M for two drinking water projects to add new treatment processes to control emerging contaminants. The Town of Pittsboro will also receive $10.5 M for a regionalization wastewater transmission system improvement project converting the wastewater treatment plant into an equalization pump station and force main to a lift station in Sanford.
- City of Hamlet in Richmond County will receive $10.3 M for water system improvements, including improvements to a clearwell, chemical feed piping and pumps, and replacement of approximately 200 lead service connections.
- City of Oxford in Granville County will receive $3.6 M for Oxford Water System expansion and enhancement, replacing water lines in order to modernize some lines that don’t meet current state codes, are in poor condition, and can be between 50 to 100 years old.
- City of Lexington in Davidson County will receive $27.9 M for wastewater treatment plant improvements, including a new dewatering facility and a new facility for thermal dryer equipment.
- Brunswick County will receive $14.9 M to expand sewer service to a disadvantaged/underserved area, including up to 200 new connections.
- Town of Bath in Beaufort County will receive $9.8 M for a proposed regionalization project for conveyance of wastewater from the Town of Bath to the City of Washington’s wastewater treatment plant via a new lift station and force main, addressing long-term viability.
- City of Brevard in Transylvania County will receive $2.28 M to extend sewer lines to resolve failing septic systems. The project includes installation of 6800 linear feet of sewer lines and a pump station.
- City of Wilson in Wilson County will receive $3.2 M to construct two bioretention/wetlands stormwater control measures to address both stormwater quality and quantity concerns, and one underground detention system at the Headquarters Fire Station on Hines Street to address stormwater quantity issues.
- Town of Morehead City in Carteret County will receive $5 M for Calico Creek Stormwater Improvements, constructing nature-based stormwater control measures along neighborhood streets to improve water quality in the impaired Calico Creek.
- Town of Nags Head in Dare County will receive $2.9 M for stormwater infrastructure improvements, constructing an innovative stormwater quantity project to reduce the frequency, depth, and duration of flooding, as indicated in the town’s vulnerability and adaptation planning document.
- Town of Black Mountain in Buncombe County will receive $5 M for the Black Mountain North Bank Swannanoa River Floodbench Project, constructing 3,000 linear feet of flood bench and four one‐acre areas of constructed wetlands and in‐river rock veins to address stormwater quantity issues for the Swannanoa River.
A list of all projects funded statewide by town or county is available on the NCDEQ website. An expanded summary of the projects with more detail on funding sources and types will be available here next week.