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Jan 31, 2024

Local Legislators Deserve Thanks for Supporting Water Infrastructure

Sponsored Content provided by Jennifer Adams - Chairwoman, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority

Water and sewer infrastructure, often expensive and difficult to engineer, is foundational to our quality of life. Availability of reliable water and sewer service determines what industries and employers decide to locate here, how many schools we can open, whether our community can continue to grow and thrive. Likewise, protecting water quality is key to a healthy environment, but sometimes that protection comes with added costs for drinking water providers. 

Fortunately for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s customers, they are represented in Raleigh by public servants who prioritize water quality and investment in critical community resources. 
Last legislative session all five members of New Hanover County’s delegation to the N.C. General Assembly – Senators Michael V. Lee and Bill Rabon, and Representatives Deb Butler, Ted Davis, Jr., and Charles W. Miller – helped advance utility projects or water initiatives to support our region’s infrastructure, our river, and environment. 

In January, the CFPUA Board formally recognized these efforts with a resolution honoring our entire delegation. I and my fellow Board members look forward to hosting members of our delegation at our February meeting. 

I encourage you to read the resolution and learn more about our members’ work on water and sewer.

As I shared in a previous Insights column, CFPUA received $35 million in direct allocations in the 2023 State Appropriations Act, and our customers will benefit from other significant allocations to local partners. For instance, New Hanover County received $45 million for water and wastewater infrastructure, much of which will eventually be conveyed to CFPUA.

The Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority, which supplies water to CFPUA and other local utilities, received $30 million to complete its 54-inch Parallel Raw Water Transmission Main, a project that will protect and expand the region’s raw water supply. 

Importantly, these allocations will allow CFPUA and our regional partners to grow and improve infrastructure, costs which otherwise would be borne by CFPUA’s customers.

This landmark funding could not have been secured without the hard work of our delegation, many of whom hold key budget committee roles in their respective chambers.

I also want to thank our legislators for their passionate efforts around PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated substances) contamination. 

For many of North Carolina’s nearly 800 public water systems, PFAS contamination remains a major concern. Since October 2022, however, CFPUA customers have been able to enjoy clearly better water, effectively treated for GenX and other PFAS compounds.  CFPUA and other utilities also have asked state regulators for research-supported guidance on compounds that testing continues to find in source water, such as ultra-short-chain PFAS like PFMOAA and PFPrA. 

Members of our delegation introduced legislation seeking to protect North Carolinians from effects and costs of PFAS pollution and to expand PFAS exposure research. We were glad to see $4 million allocated in the State Budget to the North Carolina Collaboratory for PFAS research in the Cape Fear River Basin, as well as $20 million for programs related to management of firefighting foams containing PFAS.  

On behalf of the 200,000 people who depend on CFPUA for safe, reliable water and sewer services, our Board thanks New Hanover County’s delegation. With major projects on the horizon – including replacement of CFPUA’s Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant – we are grateful to have partners in the General Assembly helping to keep costs low and quality of life high for our customers. 

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