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Gov. Carney visits Newark water treatment facility as state begins seeking clean water projects to fund

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

Gov. John Carney joined other local officials Wednesday for a tour of Newark’s South Well Field water treatment facility.

Carney is highlighting that state agencies are now accepting loan and grant applications for drinking and wastewater system improvement projects.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill signed by President Biden in November is sending Delaware funding for a once in a generation opportunity to make major improvements to several infrastructure areas.

That includes $315 million for water and wastewater systems projects here, with dedicated funding to address contaminants, finding and removing lead from water lines, and for disadvantaged communities.

Newark City Manager Tom Coleman conducted Wednesday’s tour of Newark’s water treatment facilities. He says it’s important lawmakers see what this funding can be spent on.

“Coming here and being able to actually see these things in real life and see all the work that goes into making the drinking water that just comes on when you turn on the faucet at home. It’s easy to assume that it’s an easy process, but there’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of time and money to make that safe and ready for you when you want it,” Coleman explained. “So, I think it’s definitely helpful for people to see things in real life.”

And Governor Carney echoed these sentiments. He called the tour eye opening for him, showing him the funding available is necessary to make significant change.

“I thought that the dollar amount that we’re getting from the federal government was a big number, and it is, but there are big needs out there,” Carney said. “If you think about the infrastructure just the City of Newark needs, and you multiply that across the cities and towns and local jurisdictions across our state, and you can see that it's going to be a big need.”

Coleman says Newark hopes to use federal funding to replace 50 miles of water mains, costing about $75-80 million over the next 15-20 years. It also hopes to address emerging contaminants and clear other infrastructure backlogs it wasn't able to address previously.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for these projects across the state will be available over the next five years.

Carney notes there are also additional state funds available for these projects from Delaware’s Clean Water Trust.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021