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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

MASSACHUSETTS OFFICIALS LAUNCH PROGRAMS TO PROTECT WATER INFRASTRUCTURE AND INCENTIVIZE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

MASSACHUSETTS OFFICIALS LAUNCH PROGRAMS TO PROTECT WATER INFRASTRUCTURE AND INCENTIVIZE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (Trust) have released the annual solicitation for projects to be financed by the State Revolving Fund (SRF) for 2019. The SRF offers subsidized loans to cities, towns and regional agencies to help protect their water resources and drinking water.

The Trust also announces three new programs that are part of the 2019 solicitation: an Incentivized Lead Service Line Replacement Program; an Asset Management Planning Grant Program; and a Housing Choice Loan Program.

“This year the Trust committed over $600 million to fund projects designed to improve water quality and upgrade its infrastructure,” said Treasurer Goldberg, Chair of the Clean Water Trust. “The new programs will save our local communities money and protect the health of citizens and the environment.”

“The SRF has long been a critical program to help communities and regional entities with wastewater and drinking water infrastructure,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The addition of these three new programs provides additional assistance targeted to the important areas of ensuring that lead service lines are completely removed, providing additional funds for long-term infrastructure planning, and further incentivizing affordable housing.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to partner with Treasurer Goldberg and the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to support municipalities in financing important water infrastructure projects,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. We are pleased to have committed significant resources to continue the essential work made possible by the Trust through the State Revolving Fund.”

To be eligible for Clean Water or Drinking Water SRF loans, municipalities, wastewater districts, and water suppliers must file applications with MassDEP demonstrating that proposed projects offer significant public health or water quality benefit, have local funding authorization and that there is a commitment on the borrower’s part to file a timely loan application. The solicitation will be open for projects starting July 09, 2018 and applications are due by August 24, 2018.

The 2019 solicitation contains three new programs created by the Trust;

  1. Incentivized Lead Service Line Replacement Program allows projects funded by the Commonwealth’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to convert loan interest, that would have been paid to the Trust, into additional funds that can be used to replace private lead service lines (LSL). These converted funds will make private LSL replacement cost neutral for cities and towns, and free for homeowners. Additional information is found here.

  1. Asset Management Planning Grants is a new $2 million grant program aimed at the creation of water infrastructure Asset Management Plans (AMPs). These plans are essential for water utilities in tracking the useful life of their existing water infrastructure. Additional information is found here.

  1. Housing Choice Loan Program for communities that have achieved the “Housing Choice” designation under the Commonwealth’s Housing Choice Initiative, will be eligible for an interest rate reduction up to .5% from the standard below market rate of 2% offered for most Trust loans. Additional information is found here.

The 2018 solicitation resulted in $610.5 million in water infrastructure projects - $126.5 million in Drinking Water and $484 million in Clean Water projects, funding 61 new construction projects and continued funding for 10 multi-year projects. In addition to project funding, the Trust pledged $21.1 million in principal forgiveness for eligible communities. Please visit MassDEP’s State Revolving Fund Loan Program website for additional information.

For more information about these programs please visit the Special Programs page of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust webpage.