The criteria in this section apply to a loan or grant from the Wastewater Reserve or the Drinking Water Reserve. The Division of Water Infrastructure must establish a system of assigning points to applications based on the following criteria:
(1) Public necessity. - An applicant must explain how the project promotes public health and protects the environment. A project that improves a system that is not in compliance with permit requirements or is under orders from the Department, enables a moratorium to be lifted, or replaces failing septic tanks with a wastewater collection system has priority.
(2) Effect on impaired waters. - A project that improves designated impaired waters of the State has priority.
(3) Efficiency. - A project that achieves efficiencies in meeting the State's water infrastructure needs or reduces vulnerability to drought consistent with Part 2A of Article 21 and Article 38 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes by one of the following methods has priority:
a. The combination of two or more wastewater or public water systems into a regional wastewater or public water system by merger, consolidation, or another means.
b. Conservation or reuse of water, including bulk water reuse facilities and waterlines to supply reuse water for irrigation and other approved uses.
c. Construction of an interconnection between water systems intended for use in drought or other water shortage emergency.
d. Repair or replacement of leaking waterlines to improve water conservation and efficiency or to prevent contamination.
e. Replacement of meters and installation of new metering systems.
(4) Comprehensive land-use plan. - A project that is located in a city or county that has adopted or has taken significant steps to adopt a comprehensive land-use plan under Article 18 of Chapter 153A of the General Statutes or Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes has priority over a project located in a city or county that has not adopted a plan or has not taken steps to do so. The existence of a plan has more priority than steps taken to adopt a plan, such as adoption of a zoning ordinance. A plan that exceeds the minimum State standards for protection of water resources has more priority than one that does not. A project is considered to be located in a city or county if it is located in whole or in part in that unit. A land-use plan is not considered a comprehensive land-use plan unless it has provisions that protect existing water uses and ensure compliance with water quality standards and classifications in all waters of the State affected by the plan.
(5) Flood hazard ordinance. - A project that is located in a city or county that has adopted a flood hazard prevention ordinance under G.S. 143-215.54A has priority over a project located in a city or county that has not adopted an ordinance. A plan that exceeds the minimum standards under G.S. 143-215.54A for a flood hazard prevention ordinance has more priority than one that does not. A project is considered to be located in a city or county if it is located in whole or in part in that unit. If no part of the service area of a project is located within the 100-year floodplain, the project has the same priority under this subdivision as if it were located in a city or county that has adopted a flood hazard prevention ordinance. The most recent maps prepared pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program or approved by the Department determine whether an area is within the 100-year floodplain.
(6) Sound management. - A project submitted by a local government unit that has demonstrated a willingness and ability to meet its responsibilities through sound fiscal policies and efficient operation and management has priority.
(6a) Asset management plan. - A project submitted by a local government unit with more than 1,000 service connections that has developed and is implementing an asset management plan has priority over a project submitted by a local government unit with more than 1,000 service connections that has not developed or is not implementing an asset management plan.
(7) Capital improvement plan. - A project that implements the applicant's capital improvement plan for the wastewater system or public water system it manages has priority over a project that does not implement a capital improvement plan. To receive priority, a capital improvement plan must set out the applicant's expected water infrastructure needs for at least 10 years.
(8) Coastal habitat protection. - A project that implements a recommendation of a Coastal Habitat Protection Plan adopted by the Environmental Management Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission, and the Marine Fisheries Commission pursuant to G.S. 143B-279.8 has priority over other projects that affect counties subject to that Plan.
(9) High-unit-cost threshold. - A high-unit-cost project has priority over projects that are not high-unit-cost projects. The priority given to a high-unit-cost project shall be set using a sliding scale based on the amount by which the applicant exceeds the high-unit-cost threshold.
(10) Regionalization. - A project to provide for the planning of regional public water and wastewater systems, to provide for the orderly coordination of local actions relating to public water and wastewater systems, or to help realize economies of scale in regional public water and wastewater systems through consolidation, management, merger, or interconnection of public water and wastewater systems has priority. If an applicant demonstrates that it is not feasible for the project to include regionalization, the funding agency shall assign the project the same priority as a project that includes regionalization.
(11) State water supply plan. - A project that addresses a potential conflict between local plans or implements a measure in which local water supply plans could be better coordinated, as identified in the State water supply plan pursuant to G.S. 143-355(m), has priority.
(12) Water conservation measures for drought. - A project that includes adoption of water conservation measures by a local government unit that are more stringent than the minimum water conservation measures required pursuant to G.S. 143-355.2 has priority.
(13) Low-income residents. - A project that is located in an area annexed by a municipality under Article 4A of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes in order to provide water or sewer services to low-income residents has priority. For purposes of this section, low-income residents are those with a family income that is eighty percent (80%) or less of median family income. (2005-454, s. 3; 2008-143, s. 15; 2010-151, s. 2; 2011-145, s. 13.3(hhh); 2011-396, s. 11.2; 2013-360, s. 14.21(e); 2013-413, s. 57(r).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014