New “Clean Water Trust” Given More Latitude To Help Cities And Towns
Trust Now Has Discretion to Offer Loans at as Low as Zero Percent Interest
Treasurer Steven Grossman today announced that the newly re-branded “Clean Water Trust” (CWT) has been given legislative authorization to offer municipalities zero-interest loans and more principal forgiveness on the loans that it issues for clean water projects. The same authorizing legislation changed the name of the agency from the cumbersome Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust to the Clean Water Trust.
“This is about much more than a name change – the legislation also changes and greatly improves the way we can assist cities and towns that need water infrastructure improvement projects but have difficulties financing them,” said Grossman, who chairs the Trust. “This will save cash-strapped communities millions of dollars every year.”
The legislation, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick this week, sets forth criteria that the CWT can use to forgive principal or to issue water infrastructure loans at a rate lower than the previous floor of two percent. Criteria that may be considered include:
- Whether the project is part of a regional wastewater management plan;
- Whether the project includes green infrastructure;
- Whether the project is a direct result of a disaster; and
- Whether the project will provide water to consumers who have private wells that are contaminated.
“The new name, Clean Water Trust, speaks better to the goal of our State Revolving Fund loan programs – to clean our waters and protect the environment and the public health,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David W. Cash, who serves on the Trust board. “The challenges we face have changed in the years since the Trust was created, and as we see from the algae bloom crisis in Lake Erie, new challenges can confront us at any time. So the new Trust will allow us to fully address any new issue that arises.”
“We would like to thank the legislature for recognizing the importance of investing in water infrastructure across the Commonwealth. By allowing us to provide additional subsidy to borrowers it will move more projects forward, protecting the environmental health of those communities and creating jobs,” said Sue Perez, Executive Director of the CWT. “We look forward to implementing these changes and using our new, simpler name, the Clean Water Trust.”
"I am very proud of the passage of this water infrastructure legislation, and I am grateful for Treasurer Grossman's wise stewardship of the Water Pollution Abatement Trust, now re-named the Clean Water Trust," said Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), one of the lead sponsors of the bill. "An Act improving drinking water and wastewater infrastructure will increase investment in water infrastructure across the state, reform how infrastructure is funded, and prioritize the use of green infrastructure to begin adequately addressing our state's urgent water infrastructure needs. The bill marks the most significant reform to water infrastructure finance in 25 years, and could not have happened without the contributions of the Clean Water Trust staff, Senate President Therese Murray, and my House colleague Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston)."
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the protection and management of our water resources is critical to our communities,” said Rep. Carolyn Dykema. “This bill takes a significant step toward partnering with our cities and towns to better manage our water and wastewater systems while also preparing for long-term maintenance and investment.”