Maine Department of Environmental Protection Releases Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plan

September 16, 2013

CONTACT:
Jessamine Logan, Maine DEP, Director of Communications, 287-5842 or jessamine.logan@maine.gov

-$60 million will be used for publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities and other water quality improvement practices

AUGUSTA- The Maine Department of Environmental Protection released its final Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Intended Use Plan (IUP) for FY 2013. The Department plans to assist 18 communities with wastewater treatment and water quality improvements by using federal and state funds.

Due to federal sequestration, Maine's CWSRF allotment for its capitalization grant will be $10,335,000; 5.5 percent less than what was received last year. The required state matches through FY2013 have been funded, almost exclusively, by appropriations of State of Maine General Obligation Bonds as approved by voters. Governor Paul R. LePage's top priority legislation was to get the State's fiscal house in order by paying back the nearly $490 million owed to Maine's hospitals. This legislation also called for negotiating a new State wholesale liquor contract, which will provide the revenue to pay off the bond that is being used to pay the hospitals. Revenue from the new liquor contract will also provide a 10-year revenue stream for future state CWSRF matches.

"This new, dedicated revenue stream will help stabilize the program's funding, ensuring that communities will have the ability to make future improvements and changes to their wastewater facilities," said Governor LePage. "One of the benefits of my administration's work to get the State's fiscal house in order is that municipalities can now plan for future wastewater improvements that help protect public health, clean our water and make their communities a more attractive place for businesses to locate."

The Department will have approximately $60 million in funding available to municipalities. 2013 is the fourth year that loan principal forgiveness will be available for projects in the CWSRF. Congress is requiring Maine's CWSRF to provide a minimum of $486,823 and a maximum of $730,234 in additional subsidizes to borrowers. In an effort to assist communities and provide sustainability incentives, the Department intends to offer the maximum allowed, $730,234, as principal forgiveness. "The Department supports the maximum principal forgiveness to municipalities because we want all Maine residents to have the opportunity to have sustainable wastewater infrastructure," said Patricia Aho, Maine DEP Commissioner. "Clean water is tied to our state's identity, whether forestry, fishing, farming, or outdoor recreational activities, we need clean water to grow our economy and protect our environment and natural resources."

The Department thoroughly supports Congress' promotion of sustainable projects by requiring that 10 percent of the 2013 capitalization grant amount be targeted for "green" infrastructure projects or component projects. "Communities that make investments to have high-quality, safe and sustainable wastewater facilities will see the return from businesses that want to locate to their towns and cities. These projects are more resilient and will save taxpayers money by reducing future repairs and updates," said Aho.

Since its inception the Maine CWSRF has loaned in excess of $700 million and gave over $29 million in principal forgiveness to 39 of 130 municipalities. This program is invaluable in protecting water quality and Mainer's health from Kittery to Madawaska. "The long term goal of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund is to provide low interest financing to maintain and improve Maine's inventory of municipal sewage facilities in perpetuity," said John True, DEP Engineering Services Manager.

The CWSRF was created in 1987 by the Clean Water Act to establish a pollution control revolving fund. It is a major source of low interest financing for publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities and other municipal projects intended to protect public health. The purpose of the IUP is twofold - to demonstrate to EPA that there is a need for the capitalization grant to fund a list of potential projects and to rank projects to determine which borrowers will receive principal loan forgiveness.

The Department's intention is to equitably distribute the limited loan principal forgiveness to applicants that will utilize the funds in the near future. In order to be eligible for principal forgiveness applicants will be required to enter into a binding loan commitment with the Maine Municipal Bond Bank on or before September 30, 2014. Loan commitments after that date will not be eligible for principal forgiveness.

For more information about the CWSRF or the IUP, please visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/grants/srfparag.html or contact John True at 287-7808 or john.n.true@maine.gov.

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