Raleigh, NC (STL.News) – North Carolina Governor Cooper announced the State Water Infrastructure Authority has approved $112 million in loans that will help North Carolina communities pay for 26 much-needed drinking water and wastewater projects statewide, from Murphy to Manteo.
The Town of Murphy in Cherokee County will receive $794,250 for sewer repair near the Hiawassee River, and the Town of Manteo will receive $1.1 million, with $500,000 in principal forgiveness, for moving their pump station out of a flood-prone area to increase resiliency in future storms.
Elsewhere in the state, approved projects range from improvements to the North Wilkesboro drinking water system to solar panel installation at the wastewater treatment plant in Benson to improvements to Waynesville’s wastewater treatment plant. The City of Greenville received $20 million for a project that would upgrade and expand its water treatment plant, allowing the city to grow. The City of Fayetteville received $22.5 million in vital sewer funding, including $6.3 million to improve efficiency by replacing six pumps at its Big Rockfish sanitary sewer.
“North Carolina’s communities need strong, resilient water infrastructure to support economic development,” said Governor Cooper. “These loans begin to address the challenge based on the greatest need. To close the remaining funding gaps, I have proposed an education and water bond in this year’s budget so that more towns and counties can get the foundation they need to grow and attract jobs.”
The 20-year infrastructure needs for the state range from $17 to $26 billion for drinking water and wastewater systems combined according to estimates by the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Aging water infrastructure, often installed more than a century ago, is a major challenge in North Carolina and nationwide. Towns are often overwhelmed by the costs of addressing the pressing needs of their utilities, and the costs increase when needed work is postponed.
“The funding made available through these loans will help protect drinking water and build, repair and maintain systems that need to be resilient not only for future storms but to pave the way for economic opportunity. North Carolina’s towns need reliable systems with enough capacity to accommodate economic and population growth and meet the daily needs of its residents,” said Kim Colson, director of DEQ’s water infrastructure division.
A summary of funding approved by the authority and a list of all funded projects statewide by town and/or county is available at: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/WI/Authority/2019_meetings/July-2019-State-Water-Infrastructure-Authority-Funding-Approvals.pdf
Funds for selected projects across the state were awarded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program. Requests for nearly $321 million for water infrastructure projects were received in April, with $112 million available for requested funding.
The application period for the authority’s next round of funding ends on Sept. 30. The Division of Water Infrastructure will conduct statewide training sessions for interested applicants July 24 through Aug. 9. The complete training schedule is available at: https://files.nc.gov/ncdeq/WI/News/2019-Fall-Training-Announcement-FINAL-rev-6-24-2019.pdf