Read the full article by Vaughn Hagerty

“Brunswick County plans to fund essentially half of $99 million in water plant upgrades through a loan program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that likely will reduce financing costs by millions of dollars.

EPA announced this month that Brunswick was among 39 applicants nationwide — and the only one in North Carolina — selected to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or WIFIA loans.

The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners in May approved construction of a low-pressure reverse-osmosis, or RO, plant at its Northwest Water Treatment Plant.

That decision followed a study comparing options to remove GenX and other fluorochemicals in the Cape Fear River, source of the plant’s drinking water.

The contamination came to light in June 2017, following media reports that researchers had discovered GenX and a host of similar substances emanating from the Chemours chemical plant on the Bladen-Cumberland county line near Fayetteville…

The county won’t know its rate until the loan is secured, but Hardy said: ‘Typically, it’s a savings of a percentage (point) or two, maybe more’ compared with a revenue bond. Over the life of the loan, that should result in millions of dollars in savings.

While construction and operating expenses may not change, the decreased financing costs should help the county keep rate increases below what they might be otherwise.

‘I think it will greatly benefit the ratepayers,’ Hardy said…

In addition to securing funding, Brunswick also must apply to discharge wastewater under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, which in North Carolina is administered by DEQ.

That process ‘began in February and has proceeded with no ‘red flags’ from regulators. Bidding and construction of the project is expected to begin in June of 2019,’ the county wrote in its announcement of the expansion.”