State announces $1.9M to Waynesville for water lines

Press release from North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality:

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 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.

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 Authority is 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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