Baker-Polito Administration Awards $538 Million in Loans to Fund Wastewater and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects
Low-Cost Financing Offered for 71 New and 20 Ongoing Water Resources Projects Statewide
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that 91 projects in 63 communities across the Commonwealth are eligible to receive $538 million in 2 percent interest-rate loans to fund construction and planning projects designed to improve water quality, upgrade or replace aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and cut treatment plant energy use and costs.
The low-cost financing, through the State Revolving Fund (SRF), is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT) and funds projects implemented by cities and towns, regional water supply and wastewater treatment districts, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The projects include 61 clean water initiatives totaling more than $414 million and 30 drinking water projects totaling more than $124 million. Communities offered SRF funding in this round must decide to move forward with the project by June 30, 2016 and secure local funding authority.
”The availability of safe, clean drinking water and the proper disposal of wastewater is vital to the quality of life for the Commonwealth’s residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This state funding will protect both natural resources and public health, while stimulating the engineering and construction sectors of our economy.”
“State Revolving Funds are applied directly to critical infrastructure projects at the local and regional level,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These projects strengthen the partnerships forged between the state and local officials as we work together to protect the health of our communities.”
“The Clean Water Trust delivers a critical service to municipalities by financing water infrastructure projects,” said Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Chair of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. “Improving water quality presents both public health and economic benefits for the citizens and communities across the Commonwealth.”
In accordance with the Clean Energy Results Program (CERP) under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), 17 of the projects receiving funding are for renewable energy, energy efficiency or green infrastructure initiatives. These projects involve energy efficiency upgrades to treatment plants and the on-site installation of renewable energy technologies, such as solar cells and wind turbines.
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. About 30 percent of municipal energy use derives from water treatment.
“Upgrades to water infrastructure projects around the Commonwealth are vital in order to provide safe drinking water and proper wastewater disposal for our state’s residents,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By including energy efficiency and renewable energy components to improvements being made with resources from the State Revolving Fund, communities across the state will be in a position to cut local operating costs and help to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from the water treatment sector.”
This year, 36 of the new projects are eligible to receive principal forgiveness. Principal forgiveness is awarded to renewable energy projects and for projects in communities that meet the affordability criteria established by the MCWT. The affordability criteria factors in per capita income, unemployment rate and population trends.
“This year, up to 30 percent of the SRF funding can be used for principal forgiveness that can be applied directly to local and regional green infrastructure projects and communities that qualify,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The funding awarded will help cities and towns advance initiatives focused on environmental protection in an efficient, cost-effective and timely manner.”
The SRF is comprised of two programs that have provided more than $6 billion to Massachusetts projects: the Clean Water Fund, first capitalized in 1989; and the Drinking Water Fund, which began operation in 1999. More information on the two SRF programs can be found at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/grants/state-revolving-fund.html
This year, the Clean Water SRF provides approximately $414 million in financing for clean water projects across the Commonwealth. Approximately $380 million will fund 35 new construction projects, $15 million will be allocated towards funding nine previously approved multi-year projects, $2 million has been allocated to the emergency set-aside account, $3 million will be directed to the Community Septic Management Program to remediate failed septic systems in participating communities, and $14 million will fund 15 proposed planning projects.
The Drinking Water SRF provides approximately $124 million in financing for drinking water projects across the Commonwealth. Approximately $87 million will fund 16 new construction projects, $35 million will be allocated towards funding 11 previously approved multi-year projects, $2 million will fund an emergency set-aside account and approximately $500,000 is allocated for the two planning project submitted.
“Congratulations to the communities that are being financed with the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan programs,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler. “This partnership will assist our communities to comply with the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act and maintain or improve water quality for our residents across the Commonwealth.”
“Access to high quality, clean drinking water and the disposal of wastewater are critical to preserving public health in Massachusetts communities,” said Senator Anne M. Gobi, Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I want to commend the Baker-Polito Administration for offering these low-interest loans to cities and town throughout the Commonwealth.”
“I congratulate the UBWPAD, which serves seven area communities, on being selected for this financing opportunity,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury).“The funding will help UBWPAD expand existing efforts to increase efficiencies, and to ensure the quality of water resources for residents and consumers.”
“I appreciate the great work MassDEP under Commissioner Marty Suuberg and Secretary Beaton with the Baker-Polito Administration is doing in addressing matters for infrastructure projects and improvements for our clean water and waste water treatment plants,” said Representative Paul K. Frost (R-Auburn). “I am very pleased to see the Upper Blackstone Valley treatment plant as one of these projects which will receive funding support from this program. The Upper Blackstone is vital to our region and I fully support the efforts to benefit this facility.”
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Environmental Protection for designating funds to improve water quality in towns across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden). “This is yet another example of the true partnership between the Administration and municipalities and I am thrilled the Town of Rutland was chosen as a recipient. Congratulations to all of the communities who received funds, as they will benefit the citizens of the Commonwealth and generations to come.”
Massachusetts awards infrastructure financing under the SRF, which is administered by the MCWT – 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 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 projects on the 2016 SRF list must now file loan applications and receive MassDEP approval to obtain funding.
A full listing of community projects selected for the 2016 Clean Water SRF can be found in Table 1 at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/grants/state-revolving-fund.html#1
A full listing of community projects selected for the 2016 Drinking Water SRF can be found in Table 1 at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/grants/state-revolving-fund.html#1
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.