FRANKLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) — USDA secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA administrator Michael Regan were in Franklin County Tuesday discussing new investments in water infrastructure.

They took a tour of the Franklin County Water and Sewer Plant and highlighted the more than $1 billion North Carolina will receive over the next five years. The funds are part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, which represents the single largest investment in water that the federal government has ever made.

That money will help fix dams, replace lead pipes and deal with contaminates in the water.

“We’re going to build a future where our water infrastructure is resilient to the impacts of climate change. We’re all children across this country, no matter their race, their zip code, or how much money their parents have in their pockets can safely drink from the tap without fear of hazard and harm,” Regan said.

Vilsack mentioned how improved water infrastructure can be a catalyst for growth, especially in rural communities.

“When you create facilities like this, you allow communities to continue to expand, attract business, have new homeownership opportunities, and your population grows and you enjoy a much higher and better quality of life,” Vilsack said.

State DEQ secretary Elizabeth Biser said they’re working with local governments across the state to make sure they know the money is out there and how to get access to it.