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DEQ announces new lead service line replacement funding during summit on water infrastructure needs and funding in disadvantaged areas



The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced new lead service line replacement funding, made available through the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Applications for the funding will be available in February during the Division of Water Infrastructure’s spring 2023 funding round. The deadline for submitting applications is May 1, 2023.  

DEQ made the announcement today during a summit offered virtually and in person at the N. C. Biotech Center and co-hosted by the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative.

The summit, “North Carolina Water and Equity: Addressing Water Infrastructure Needs and Funding in Disadvantaged Areas”, brought together stakeholders, thought leaders and experts across North Carolina (state/federal/local government, academia/research, community groups, business) in a focused effort to ensure that funding is made available to address the needs of disadvantaged, underserved communities. Stakeholders include community members, local, state and federal government, and technical service providers.

There are still an estimated six-to-ten million lead service lines in cities and towns across the country, many of which are in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. The new lead service line funding will deliver resources to remove these lead pipes.

BIL invests $15 billion nationwide towards Lead Service Line Replacement through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over five years. North Carolina’s allotment will depend on the demand for funding from eligible entities.

Eligible applicants for this funding include local government units, non-profit water corporations, and privately owned water utilities. A service line is the water line that connects a home or business to the main water line on the street. Funding is available to replace service lines and connectors made of lead or made of galvanized iron or galvanized steel downstream of lead components and located between the main water line and the point of the premise plumbing, usually outdoors. This funding does not apply to replacement of indoor plumbing or indoor fixtures.

 DEQ’s Division of Water Infrastructure will be offering funding specifically to identify, inventory, and replace lead service lines and lead connectors throughout water systems. Information specific to North Carolina's lead service line replacement funding will be shared on the Division’s website soon. The Division is developing a process by which local governments, non-profit water companies, and investor-owned water utilities can request low-interest loans and principal forgiveness. The process will be announced here and in a webinar in February 2023. Application training will be available in person at five locations statewide and on the Division's website.