Bath to receive more than $20 million for wastewater expansion

Published 11:39 am Friday, March 3, 2023

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The Town of Bath is receiving a possible combined $20,075,000 for wastewater expansion. The money is coming from two different state government sources – the State Water and Infrastructure Authority’s Viable Utility Reserve (VUR) and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper with the state Department of Environmental Quality.  

Money from the VUR is pending on approval by the Local Government Commission which could take a couple of weeks before it becomes official. 

North Carolina Senator Jim Perry announced the possible funding from VUR on Saturday, Feb. 25. 

“Aging water and sewer infrastructure is an issue all over our state, but it is especially hard on our rural areas that are losing population,” Perry said. “Utilities are covered by user fees, not tax dollars, so you need to grow your number of users to keep the per person cost low. The North Carolina General Assembly appropriates funds, but it is the sharp leadership in these communities who pulled these funds to their communities.”

He continued to say that to have a “healthy state” rural areas like Bath who “have the ability to grow” but are limited by water and wastewater capacity need to have this financial assistance. “They can’t grow without drinking water and wastewater capacity increases,” he said. “I want my people of the East to have a fighting chance for the future.”

According to Senator Perry’s office, the state received 649 applications from 91 of North Carolinas 100 counties. In total, with $3.5 billion in requests and $462.9 million of grants were approved. The state plans to use $2.3 billion over the next two years to help upgrade water infrastructure. 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s office announced on Feb. 23 that over the next two years, the state will invest $2.3 billion in water infrastructure. The first phase of that funding will cover 249 infrastructure to the tune of $462.9 million. Eighty communities statewide will receive a portion of the $462.9 million. 

“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 in a press release. “The amount of funding requested highlights the extensive need for infrastructure investment across North Carolina.”

The Town of Bath is one of those 80 communities and expected to receive $9.8 million 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,” according to the governor’s office. 

His office also stated, “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.”