This program provides low-cost financing to help community public water suppliers comply with federal and state drinking water requirements.
The program's goals are to protect public health and strengthen compliance with drinking water requirements while addressing the Commonwealth's drinking water needs through affordability and proper watershed management priorities.
Community public water suppliers can receive financial assistance for the engineering and construction of drinking water infrastructure projects, such as new water treatment facilities, that protect public health and improve compliance with federal and state drinking water regulations.
Eligible projects include:
- new and upgraded drinking water treatment facilities;
- projects to replace contaminated sources, new water treatment, or storage facilities;
- consolidation or restructuring of water systems;
- projects and system activities that provide treatment, or effective alternatives to treatment, for compliance with regulated health standards, such as the Surface Water Treatment Rule; and,
- installation or replacement of transmission or distribution systems.
Ineligible projects include:
- dams and reservoirs (except for the costs of dam and reservoir rehabilitation, owned by the public water system intended to provide a safe drinking water supply and improve public health consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act);
- purchase of water rights;
- lab fees;
- fire protection projects; and
- other non-capital expenses.
To be considered for financing, a community public water supplier 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 drinking 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:
- Eliminates or mitigates a public health risk
- Achieves or maintains compliance with applicable drinking water quality requirements
- Provides affordable solutions to users in the service area
- Consolidates or restructures a public water system
- Implements, or is consistent with, watershed management plans (or addresses a watershed priority) and is consistent with 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 $360 - $375 million per year, representing approximately 40 construction projects each year. PFAS remediation projects are eligible for 0% interest loan financing subject to the availability of funds.