The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1996 allows states to establish a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program to assist community and non-profit, non-community public water systems (PWS) in financing infrastructure improvements. Many PWSs find it difficult to obtain affordable financing for infrastructure improvements needed to achieve or maintain compliance with SDWA requirements and to protect public health.
Recognizing this fact, Congress established the DWSRF to provide States with a financing mechanism for ensuring safe drinking water to the public. Loans made under the program can have interest rates between 0 percent and market rate and repayment terms of up to 20 years. The program is structured such that the loan repayments will provide a revolving source of infrastructure financing into the next century. The program also places an emphasis on small and disadvantaged communities and on programs that emphasize prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water. Typically, many small PWSs often find it difficult to obtain favorable interest rates when applying for loans to make water system improvements. Therefore, the SDWA amendments target small systems serving fewer than 10,000 persons for special consideration by the DWSRF program. Connecticut provides a minimum of 15% of the available funds for loans to these systems. Community PWSs which serve fewer than 10,000 persons are strongly encouraged to apply.
While it is important to take care of the infrastructure needs facing PWSs now, it is equally important for water systems to establish technical, financial and managerial capacity development programs to achieve sustainability and prevent drinking water problems in the future. The Drinking Water Section’s DWSRF program places a strong emphasis on preventing contamination problems through source water protection and encourages better system operations through enhanced water systems management. Asset management programs allow water systems to properly plan capital improvement projects, establish an annual budget that takes into account infrastructure depreciation, and help to effectively communicate the need for water rate adjustments with their customers, regulating agencies and elected officials. Managers need to be aware of all the new regulations that are in the pipeline and understand how they will affect their water system financially and operationally.
These are some of the many capacity development initiatives, promoted by the DWSRF program, that are critical for PWSs to achieve long term sustainability. Please refer to the following links for more information on the DWSRF program:
Call for Projects
The Drinking Water Section issued a Call for Projects notice for SFY 2014 and 2015 on November 20, 2012 to all Community and Non-Profit Non-Community Public Water Systems. The deadline for applications has been extended to 4:30pm on Thursday February 28, 2013.
Review and Ranking of Projects
The Drinking Water Section reviews project eligibility applications for completeness and eligibility for DWSRF funding. Points are assigned based on priority ranking criteria established by the Department of Public Health and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The total points assigned to each project along with each project’s readiness to proceed are both used to prepare the project priority lists for each state fiscal year in the 2 year funding cycle.
Public Hearing/Open Forum:
In conformance with the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 (Public Law 104-182), the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program Guidelines, the requirements of Title 40, Part 25, Code of Regulations in the Federal Register, Volume 44, February 16, 1979 and pursuant to Sections 22a-478(h) and 22a-482 of the Connecticut General Statutes and Sections 22a482-1 (c)(4) of the Regulations, Connecticut State Agencies, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) will hold a Public Hearing to discuss the draft priority list of projects eligible for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loans for each year of funding.
DWSRF Project Information
Emergency Power Generator Program
As a result of the widespread and prolonged power outages caused by the storms Irene and Alfred in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012, the DWSRF will continue to offer a program to provide subsidized loans for the purchase and installation of emergency power generators to operate critical drinking water infrastructure during these events. Subsidization levels for State Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 will be determined based on the federal subsidization allotment in the DPH’s capitalization grant and the number of eligible projects that are received.
A simplified DWSRF Emergency Power Generator Program – Eligibility Application is available below to apply for a loan from this program. Small systems in need of emergency power to operate their water systems during prolonged power outages are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants under this program do not need to complete a separate DWSRF Eligibility Application or General Application Form. DPH must receive all applications no later than 4:30 pm on Thursday, January 31, 2013.
Eligible public water systems that applied for DWSRF funding during SFY 2012 must adhere to all requirements contained the program guidelines contained below. Relevant programs forms contained in these guidelines along with instructions on how to submit these forms electronically to the Drinking Water Section are also provided below.
Qualifications Based Selection Requirement for Professional Service Contracts
Applicant’s applying for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans are required to follow the Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) process for the procurement of professional service contracts during the planning, design or construction phases of their projects.
QBS is an objective and fair process used to select architects, engineers and land surveyors based on the design professional’s qualifications in relation to the project. Selecting design professionals is one of the keys to a successful project. The design will determine, among other things, the cost of the project.
The Connecticut QBS Council offers assistance to the public in implementing a QBS Program. They provide helpful guides and forms as well as services of a knowledgeable facilitator at no cost to the owner.
To learn more about the Connecticut QBS Council and the QBS process click here: www.ctqbs.org
Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment - Fourth Report to Congress
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conduct an assessment of the national public water system capital improvement needs every four years. The purpose of the survey is to document the 20-year capital investment needs of public water systems that are eligible to receive Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) monies. The survey reports infrastructure needs that are required to protect public health, such as projects to ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
The total national needs reported in this, the fourth survey, which was conducted in 2007, for which the final report was released in February 2009, were $334.8 billion. As directed by the SDWA, EPA uses the results of the survey to determine the allocation of the hundreds of millions of annual DWSRF dollars to the States and Tribes for helping build and improve the Nation’s infrastructure for delivering safe drinking water.
For more information visit: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/drinkingwater/dwns
During 2011, Connecticut participated in the fifth survey. We thank all those PWS that were contacted and appreciate their willingness to work with us to help determine Connecticut’s capital improvement needs. The final report is expected to be issued in early 2013 and will determine the state’s DWSRF allocation for federal fiscal years 2014-2017.