This program is designed to provide a low-cost financing method to assist communities to comply with water-quality standards.
The program emphasizes:
- Watershed management priorities
- Stormwater management
- Green infrastructure
One major goal of the program is to encourage communities to undertake projects with meaningful water quality and public health benefits that address the needs of the communities and the watersheds.
Funding is available for the planning and construction of projects including:
New wastewater treatment facilities and upgrades of existing facilities
Wastewater collection systems
Nonpoint source pollution abatement projects, such as:
Community programs for upgrading septic systems (Title 5)
In addition, non-structural projects are eligible for SRF funding, such as:
- Green infrastructure planning projects for nonpoint source problems which are consistent with the MassDEP’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan and that identify pollution sources and suggest potential remediation strategies.
- An enhanced loan subsidy is also available for certain wastewater nutrient management projects: Instructions for zero percent nutrient reduction projects.
To be considered for subsidized financing, communities must complete a project evaluation form (PEF) during the annual project solicitation period (typically June through August). The application requires the project proponent to provide the project's significant benefits to public health or water quality, proof of the local funding authorization, and a commitment that the borrower can file a timely loan application. MassDEP will rank the projects using an established rating system which assigns points based on various criteria.
These criteria include the extent to which the project:
- Has demonstrable water quality benefits
- Eliminates or mitigates a risk to public health
- Achieves or maintains compliance with applicable discharge permits or other water pollution control requirements
- Implements, or is consistent with, watershed management plans (or addresses a watershed priority) and local and regional growth or infrastructure plans
The current subsidy is provided via a 2% interest rate loan. In recent years, due in part to an infusion of federal funds, the program capacity has been between $900 to $960 million per year, representing the financing of 65 to 70 construction projects annually.