Each year, DEQ provides funding opportunities, in the form of grants or loans, to certain eligible drinking water and wastewater systems that are experiencing public health or water pollution issues.
Grants provide up to 50% of the cost of project facility planning activities (with the grantee providing a matching share from local sources). Grants awarded under this program must be used entirely to prepare facility plans that identify the most cost-effective, environmentally sound methods to upgrade eligible water and wastewater systems to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards.
DEQ’s loan funds provide low-interest funding—up to 100% of project costs—to design and construct system improvements. Loans also may be awarded to address nonpoint source pollution control activities such as pollutant trading, upgrading or replacing individual septic tanks, restoring wetlands, treating and controlling stormwater, and addressing agricultural runoff. Repayment terms are between 20 and 30 years, and a portion of the loan repayment may be waived for disadvantaged communities.
Any interested system should first call and discuss with the local DEQ regional office staff any issues it may be facing. Next, the system should notify DEQ in writing by submitting a letter of interest form to DEQ by January 16, 2017. The LOI form is available here or at the DEQ regional offices. Even if a system is on the current (2017) priority list, it still must submit the LOI form for the upcoming year (2018).
After the LOI submission deadline, projects are rated using standardized criteria. All rated systems are then comparatively ranked with other systems around the state. The rankings are compiled in the DEQ grant and loan priority lists. These lists help DEQ determine which projects the agency can provide financial assistance to, as the demand often exceeds available funds. Those systems that rank highest and are ready to proceed are notified that they are eligible to apply for a grant or loan at the beginning of the next fiscal year (July 1, 2017).