For Immediate Release - September 12, 2012

MASSACHUSETTS WATER POLLUTION ABATEMENT TRUST RECEIVES $77.5 MILLION IN GRANT FUNDING TO SUPPORT LOW-INTEREST WATER LOANS

Associated Water and Sewer Projects Expected to Create Nearly 1,500 Jobs

            Treasurer Steven Grossman, Chair of the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust (MWPAT), today announced the receipt of $77.5 million in grant funding from the federal and state governments that will be used to support approximately $245 million in low-interest water infrastructure loans to communities across Massachusetts.  The projects financed by these loans will improve drinking water quality and reduce water pollution statewide through the construction and upgrading of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and are anticipated to generate nearly 1,500 construction-related jobs in the Commonwealth.

            “Clean water is fundamental to the health and well-being of Massachusetts citizens, and these low interest loans will allow more communities to finance needed drinking and wastewater projects,” said Grossman.  “In addition to the 1,500 jobs that will be created, these below-market rate loans translate into more capital being available for cities and towns to fund other important local priorities, such as public safety and education.”

            “I welcome these much needed federal funds and pledge to put them to quick work on Massachusetts’ water infrastructure needs,” said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “Hopefully, Congress will continue follow the lead of our delegation and recognize not only that states need the continued support of the SRF programs, but that we states steward the SRF funds wisely.”

            Loans through MWPAT are typically offered at an interest rate of 2 percent and are repaid over 20 or 30 years.  A 2 percent interest rate provides a substantial subsidy to a community versus current market rates.  For example, the average community will save approximately $500,000 in debt service costs for every $5 million borrowed and repaid over 20 years.

            “Functioning and efficient water infrastructure is vital to our health, our economy and our environment. With the award of these federal grants we will be able to fund more projects at a lower cost to rate payers, while creating jobs at the same time,” said Sue Perez, Executive Director of the MWPAT. “As our water infrastructure ages, these grants play an increasingly important role as a funding source for the Commonwealth.”

            Approximately $64.7 million of the total amount comes from a federal grant, which was leveraged through $12.8 million in state funding.  Some of the projects that are eligible for these loans include:

  • New Bedford – As part of a $20 million sewer overflow mitigation project.
  • Attleboro – As part of a $20 million wastewater treatment facility upgrade.
  • Chicopee – As part of a $16 million sewer overflow mitigation project.
  • Eastham – As part of a $10 million water distribution development project.
  • Lawrence – As part of a $6.5 million water treatment plant upgrade.
  • Fall River – As part of a $3 million water main improvement project.

            The MWPAT lends financial assistance to the Commonwealth by providing subsidized loans to cities, towns and the MWRA for clean water and drinking water infrastructure development. Since its establishment in 1989, the Trust has loaned $5.5 billion to improve and maintain the quality of water in the Commonwealth.  An estimated 97 percent of Massachusetts’ citizens have benefited from the MWPAT’s financial assistance.

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