RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced $462.9 million in funding for 249 infrastructure projects in 80 communities statewide, including ones in northeast North Carolina and the Outer Banks.
The projects aim to improve the state’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems. Cooper and the NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary, Elizabeth S. Biser, visited water and wastewater treatment facilities in Davidson and Jackson counties as part of the announcement Thursday.
The state’s aging and failing water systems are an obstacle for communities across North Carolina, resulting in unreliable access to clean drinking water and sewer services. This issue has also negatively impacted health, quality of life, and economic development efforts. While the state typically invests around $200 million per year to upgrade systems, North Carolina is investing $2.3 billion over two years due to federal funds from the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, supporting this critical infrastructure.
Governor Cooper said, “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.” Biser added that “Investing in water infrastructure provides communities with reliable, affordable access to clean water and the opportunity for future economic growth.”
The new round of funding was announced at the Lexington Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, where $27.9 million was granted to create a new dewatering facility that will provide sewer lines throughout Davidson County. In Jackson County, Governor Cooper and Secretary Biser toured the Tuckaseigee Water and Sewer Authority in Cullowhee. The authority will receive $4,130,000 for a drinking water treatment plant clearwell and a high-service pump replacement.
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received 649 applications from 91 of North Carolina’s 100 counties for this round of funding 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, and Community Development Block Grant funding.