The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is providing more than $19 million in loans to fund municipal water and sewer projects to improve water quality and public health. The loans include nearly $1 million in principal loan forgiveness for employing green practices or for meeting affordability criteria.
The Governor’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission has reported that there is an $800-million annual gap in funding water-related infrastructure needs. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) is an opportunity to help narrow that gap by providing low-interest loan financing for necessary wastewater and stormwater improvements.
With interest rates below those otherwise available on the open market and principal loan forgiveness opportunities, funding infrastructure projects through state-administered loan programs allows the communities to pass the savings along to their system customer base.
Communities receiving assistance are:
- City of Hudson – $5.2 million with $150,000 in principal forgiveness funds key improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and collection system to address high influent flows, thereby keeping discharges from the plant within permit requirements.
- City of Lansing – $9.4 million funds the construction of approximately 14,605 linear feet of sanitary sewer as part of the city’s ongoing work to separate sewers and eliminate overflows to the Grand River. This is the twenty-third SRF loan to Lansing toward this effort.
- City of Tecumseh – $1.5 million funds the rehabilitation of sanitary sewer and the Country Club Pump Station, as well as the replacement of a sludge pump at the wastewater treatment plant, to maintain system reliability.
The Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF) provides low-interest loan financing for necessary public drinking water facility improvements. The community receiving assistance is:
- City of Burton – $3 million with $800,000 in principal forgiveness funds replacement of existing water mains, valves, and hydrants in the southwestern region of the city to advance water quality, pressure, reliability, and redundancy goals, as well as to replace system components that have exceeded or are at the end of their recommended useful design lives. This is the fifth of five loans associated with the city’s 2013 DWRF Project Plan.
The SRF was established in 1988 and has since provided low-interest loans totaling $4.8 billion. The DWRF was established in 1997 and has since provided low-interest loans totaling $952 million. A portion of the SRF and DWRF is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through capitalization grants. The MDEQ is working on various proposals to improve the SRF and DWRF based on the recommendations of the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission, as well as stakeholder feedback, in order to enhance opportunities for communities to access capital funds necessary to improve Michigan’s water-related infrastructure.