Thursday, May 22, 2014

State authority announces funding awards

State authority announces funding awards for drinking water and wastewater projects

RALEIGH – State environmental officials have announced the award of more than $63 million to help fund drinking water and wastewater projects in communities statewide.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the Community Development Block Grants – Infrastructure program and the Water Infrastructure Fund will help pay for 29 projects and 12 studies. The announcement of the latest round of awards from the three funding mechanisms was made by the State Water Infrastructure Authority at its meeting May 12 in Raleigh. The authority includes appointed state and local officials with interest or experience in water and wastewater issues.

“North Carolina communities are faced with a lot of aging water and wastewater infrastructure,” said Kim Colson, director of the Division of Water Infrastructure. “These funds will help repair and replace infrastructure that support needs critical to the future well-being of these communities and their citizens.”

Clean Water State Revolving Fund

Twenty projects totaling about $50 million received funding from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is made up of a federal grant from the Environmental Protection Agency and a 20 percent match from the state. The revolving fund is a loan program used to improve water quality by financing wastewater, stormwater and other clean water infrastructure improvements.

The projects funded through the revolving fund include money the town of Haw River will use to help rehabilitate part of its wastewater collection system, which has experienced malfunctions that resulted in sewer overflows to the nearby Haw River. Also, Charlotte received a loan to help pay for a waste-to-energy project at its McAlpine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Community Development Block Grant-Infrastructure program

Six projects totaling about $9.8 million will be funded with money from the Community Development Block Grant program. The program is paid for using federal monies from the Housing and Urban Development program. The block grant program aims to improve the quality of life, public and environmental health and economic vitality for low-to-moderate income communities by improving water and wastewater infrastructure. The town of Hoffman received a block grant and a revolving fund loan to finance the installation of a sewer collection system to eliminate failing septic tanks, privies and straight piping.

As a result of state legislation last year, all state administered water infrastructure funding programs are now consolidated in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources making it easier to pair funding sources for projects like Hoffman’s so the town can better leverage grant funding.

Water Infrastructure Fund

Three construction projects and 12 studies totaling about $3.5 million will be paid for using money from the Water Infrastructure Fund, which is made up of state appropriations. The program aims to meet the needs of rural and economically distressed local governments. The latest round of funding includes a technical assistance grant for Eden to study and model its wastewater collection system. The study will help the city fulfill the requirements of an EPA administrative order and prioritize capital projects to correct wastewater collection system deficiencies.

For more information, including a list of projects funded, visit the division’s website at: http://bit.ly/1mY0iFP.

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