Stimulus money to improve Johnston's water quality
Posted February 17, 2010 6:44 p.m. EST
Smithfield, N.C. — A year after President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package into law, work funded with stimulus money proceeded on upgrading Johnston County's water treatment plant.
Johnston County applied for nearly $12 million in stimulus funds for water-quality projects, and a $3 million grant is paying for improvements to the treatment plant so the quality of water drawn from the Neuse River and sent to area homes meets state and federal guidelines.
Utilities Director Tim Broome said the project will help prepare the county to stay years ahead of new regulations.
"It is allowing us to do it on a more timely, earlier basis," Broome said.
The county also won an additional $630,000 stimulus grant to make the plant's water pumps more energy-efficient. Broome said that should cut operating costs by at least 10 percent, which could benefit water customers over time.
"It won't reduce their rates, but it will certainly postpone any future rate increases," he said.
The projects also are putting people to work – the primary goal of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"The water plant process project is creating some 50 to 80 jobs for a period of about a year and a half, and that's in construction," Broome said. "There will be one permanent job created for water plant operator."
Obama said Wednesday that the stimulus package has saved or created 2 million jobs.
As of last month, North Carolina has received $5.38 billion dollars in stimulus money.