||Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
||Environmental Protection Agency
- We anticipate as much as $19.5 million to come to Maine to fund drinking water construction projects and require no state match.
- HHS was briefed on this program on March 10, 2009.
- 50% of the dollars must be encumbered within the first 120 days from the day they become available.
- These dollars are for remediation grants and priority will go to projects that are ready to go when the legislation becomes effective.
- Funds will come through the Maine Center for Disease Control and prevention in DHHS and are then contracted out to municipalities and water utilities.
- The funds will be reallocated if they are not under contract or the project is not under construction in 12 months.
- Each State shall use not less than 50 percent of the amount of its capitalization grants to provide additional subsidization to eligible recipients in the form of forgiveness of principal, negative interest loans or grants or any combination of these.
- To the extent there are sufficient eligible project applications, the goal of the legislation is not less than 20 percent of the funds shall be for projects to address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements or other environmentally innovative activities. If projects are not available, the State must certify to the Administrator that is does not have applicants with these types of projects.
- There are about $90 million worth of drinking water projects from across the state that MeCDC has applications for. Most of these are from aging drinking water systems that do not meet the federal public health standards or from those that are too small to meet the needs of the town.
- Projects are currently scored and in a pipeline to receive the normal State Revolving Fund (SRF) dollars.
- The Stimulus Package sets some new criteria for scoring, including readiness to complete in a very quick fashion as well as the project's impact on the economy. Staff are therefore rescoring the projects. (See attached) A concern is that the normal scoring system focuses on funding projects that serve low income communities and protect public health. The new scoring system, with its emphasis on ability to quickly complete a project (which sometimes favor larger utilities), may produce some concerns among some more rural utilities.
- DWP is working on finalizing the intended use plan for these funds. As soon as those are complete, we can submit our application to EPA, and there is an expected 4-6 week turnaround we expect for EPA before we the funds will be available.
- There is a required “meaningful public comment” before we submit the application to EPA, and we are planning on holding that public meeting on March 4th, and notifying all water utilities, the relevant associations, and other stakeholders Tuesday February 25th about the place and time of the March 4th meeting. We will make any revisions to the intended use plan the week of March 4th, based on that meeting (and any meetings required with the Legislative Committee) and submit our plan to EPA as early as Friday March 6th or the week of March 9th.
- Coordination is already taking place between the Drinking Water program, DOT and DEP to assure a uniform approach to vetting projects and coordinating projects that will happen in the same locality or municipality.