For Immediate Release - May 02, 2013

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards More Than $512 Million in Loans to Fund Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects

BOSTON – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that 89 projects across the Commonwealth are eligible to receive 2 percent interest loans to fund construction and planning projects designed to improve water quality, upgrade or replace aging wastewater infrastructure and cut treatment facility energy use and costs.

The low-cost financing, through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) administered by the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust (MWPAT), will fund projects implemented by 67 cities and towns, regional water supply and wastewater treatment districts, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The projects include 54 clean water initiatives totaling more than $391 million and 35 drinking water projects totaling nearly $121 million. Communities offered SRF funding in this round must decide to move forward with the project by June 30 and secure local funding authority.

“These infrastructure projects create jobs now, while promoting public health and protecting our natural resources,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We have a stake in leaving a better Commonwealth for the next generation, and investing in our water resources will improve the quality of life for Massachusetts residents for years to come.”  

“In order to maintain our pristine water resources, we need to invest in the systems that protect and preserve our ecological jewels,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “Through the State Revolving Fund, our Administration works with cities and towns to supply the funding that builds the treatment plant, replaces the water main, installs the new renewable energy facility, and puts people back to work.”

“By investing in projects designed to improve water quality, upgrade aging wastewater infrastructure and reduce treatment facility energy costs, we’re being both environmentally friendly and economically savvy,” said Treasurer Steven Grossman, Chairman of the MWPAT. “These loans demonstrate our ongoing commitment to funding low-cost infrastructure projects that eliminate environmental threats across the Commonwealth.”

In accordance with the Clean Energy Results Program (CERP) under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), 32 of the 89 projects, or more than $337 million of the total $512 million, are for renewable energy or green infrastructure projects or green components of projects. Those projects would involve energy efficiency upgrades to treatment plants and the on-site installation of renewable energy technologies such as solar cells, wind and hydro-electric power.

Energy use at wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities is a major contributor to overall energy consumption for many cities and towns, with communities statewide spending approximately $150 million per year on electricity to treat 662 billion gallons of wastewater and drinking water. Approximately 30 percent of municipal energy use derives from water treatment.

“The projects supported by SRF funding help communities across the state improve water quality in our rivers, lakes and estuaries, and also protects the public health,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “The renewable and energy efficiency measures included in the projects will also help to cut air emissions from treatment plants and stabilize municipal energy costs.”

“Through the Commonwealth’s Energy Leaders Partnership Initiative under CERP, 112 municipal drinking water and wastewater plants are now working to reduce their energy use and costs. Today’s SRF ‘green’ funding will add to that vital effort, and boost this part of the portfolio by more than 30 percent,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “These facilities combine energy efficiency savings and renewable energy production from solar, wind and hydro to upgrade their operations, leading to significant budget savings that are good for communities and the environment.”

Once further data is finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 39 of the projects that are in Environmental Justice (EJ) communities are expected to receive some loan principal forgiveness. EJ communities are areas with below average Median Household Income levels. They can also be communities of color that may experience a disproportionate share of environmental burdens and often lack environmental assets in their neighborhood.

The SRF is comprised of two programs: the Clean Water Fund, which has awarded approximately $5.3 billion in loans since the program’s inception in 1991; and the Drinking Water Fund, which has awarded approximately $1.3 billion in projects since it began in 1999.

This year, the Clean Water SRF funds 15 planning, four carry-over and 35 construction projects, such as wastewater treatment facilities and upgrades to existing sewer systems. The Drinking Water SRF funds two planning, nine carry-over and 24 construction projects; these funds support the engineering, design and construction of drinking water facilities and systems that protect public health and strengthen compliance with state and federal drinking water requirements.

“I want to thank the Department of Environmental Protection for their continued commitment to improving water quality in the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “I am pleased that Kingston is one of the 55 communities being offered assistance through the State Revolving Fund and this loan will allow Kingston to continue their work to reduce manganese concentrations in the Trackle Pond Well through the construction of a water treatment facility at a lower cost.”

“These funds will help the communities of my district improve their water quality and be more energy efficient,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “When completed, these projects will better protect the environment and the public health.”

“Clean and safe water is essential to our quality of living, and to the health and well-being of all of the residents in Massachusetts,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer, Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “This funding will provide these communities with the opportunity to improve the efficiency of their infrastructure and ensure the quality of the water in their community.”

“I am pleased the administration has committed to improving our water supply and reducing the energy usage and costs associated with water treatment plants across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, as well as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Projects that eliminate pathogens from our waters and replace aging infrastructure offer priceless benefits for the health of our state and our people.”

Massachusetts awards infrastructure financing under the SRF, which is administered by the MWPAT – a joint effort of MassDEP, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and the State Treasurer’s Office.

To be eligible for Clean Water or Drinking Water SRF loans, municipalities, wastewater districts, and water suppliers filed applications with MassDEP last year demonstrating that proposed projects offer significant public health or drinking water quality benefits, have local funding authorization, and that there is a commitment on the borrower’s part to file a timely loan application. The 89 projects on the 2013 Intended Use List must now file loan applications and receive MassDEP approval to obtain funding.

For a full listing of the Clean Water SRF projects for 2013, turn to Table No. 1 at: Clean Water State Revolving Fund

For a full listing of the Drinking Water SRF projects for 2013, turn to Table No. 1 at: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.