Virginia Budget Covers Water Projects, Broadband Infrastructure

(AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam introduced more spending proposals for the state’s $4.3 billion share of federal coronavirus relief money, calling for investments in clean water projects.

On July 27, the governor outlined two proposed tranches of spending, calling first for a $411.5 million investment in various projects to reduce water pollution and improve drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

The proposal includes $186.5 million for wastewater treatment and nutrient removal, $125 million for combined sewer overflow projects in Richmond, Alexandria, and Lynchburg, and $100 million to assist water systems in small and disadvantaged communities, Northam’s office said in a news release.

Combined sewer overflows, often called CSOs, occur in systems with one pipe to convey both sewage and rainwater runoff. During periods of heavy rain, the system often can’t handle the volume, leading to the release of untreated water. Alexandria’s problem has been the subject of partisan fights in the General Assembly.

Northam has previously laid out plans for investing $250 million of the state’s funding in projects that will improve air quality in public schools, $700 million in expanding broadband infrastructure and $353 million in relief for small businesses and hard-hit industries like tourism. Additional announcements are expected later in the week.

The Democratic governor has also been incrementally rolling out his spending plans ahead of the special legislative session that begins next week, when lawmakers will vote on how to allocate the money from the American Rescue Plan.

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