For Immediate Release - September 12, 2013

MWPAT Approves Interest-Free Loans for Three Communities

Loans Will Save Leominster, Sturbridge, and North Attleborough $38.3 Million Combined

The Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust (MWPAT) today announced the approval of interest-free water infrastructure loans to Leominster, Sturbridge and North Attleborough.  The loans were awarded to projects that specifically focus on reducing environmentally harmful nutrients that flow into local water bodies from wastewater discharges.

“These loans will provide needed relief to communities struggling to finance key water projects that provide for the health and well-being of their citizens,” said Treasurer Steven Grossman, who serves as the Chairman of the MWPAT.  “The avoidance of interest payments at the municipal level will free up additional capital to go to other important local priorities, such as transportation infrastructure, education, and public safety.”

“Phosphorus and nitrogen in sewage has a significant negative impact on water quality, affecting our rivers, lakes and estuaries,” said Kenneth Kimmell, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environment Protection who is also a MWPAT member. “Algae blooms, low oxygen levels and fish kills can be caused by excessive nutrients. Reducing nutrient levels is necessary to protect our water resources, but very expensive. With these awards, Massachusetts is stepping up to help municipalities afford this expense by providing zero percent interest loans.”

The three projects funded by the loans are:

  • Leominster - $28 million in loans to fund the refurbishment of the city’s secondary wastewater treatment facility, which has not undergone any significant upgrade since being built 30 years ago.  The improvements will permit the facility to clean up discharge into the North Nashua River, and ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean.  The interest-free arrangement will save the city an estimated $15.2 million compared to market rates.
  • Sturbridge - $17 million in loans to fund upgrades at the town’s wastewater treatment facility.  The project will improve water quality in the Quinebaug River and better protect public and private water supplies in the area.  The interest-free arrangement will save the town an estimated $9.2 million compared to market rates.
  • North Attleborough - $25.7 million in loans to fund upgrades to the town’s wastewater treatment facility and improve the quality of the facility’s discharge into the Ten Mile River.  The interest-free arrangement will save the town an estimated $13.9 million compared to market rates.

“I am proud to be able to offer these communities additional financial assistance below our normal 2 percent loans,” said Susan Perez, Executive Director of the MWPAT.  “These borrowers have shown a commitment to protecting their citizens and the environment by implementing further controls over nutrient flow into surrounding rivers, and deserve to be rewarded for their hard work.”  

The MWPAT lends financial assistance to the Commonwealth by providing subsidized loans to cities and towns for clean water and drinking water infrastructure development.  Since its establishment in 1989, the Trust has loaned nearly $6 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.