Maine Municipal Construction Grant Program and
Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund

Emergency Sludge Dewatering State Wastewater Infrastructure Planning and Construction Grants Available

Current fiscal year information

Intended Use Plan

Construction Contract Forms and Information

Green Project Reserve

State Municipal Construction Grant Program

Affordability

State law gives the DEP flexibility, through the Construction Grant Program, to use bond issue funds with other sources of funding to provide affordable financing of municipal and quasi-municipal wastewater facilities. In 1985 the Board of Environmental Protection adopted a policy to use 2% of the Median Household Income (MHI) as a not to exceed goal for a single-family dwelling's annual sewer user charge. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to require Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) programs to develop affordability criteria that includes income and unemployment data, population trends, and other data determined relevant by the State. In accordance with WRRDA, the Department developed an affordability analysis that considers these three criteria as well as two others, poverty data and the sewer user charge as a percent of the MHI. For consistency between programs, the Department will use the affordability analysis developed under the CWSRF program to determine the financial need of applicant for state grant assistance. In the analysis, the five criteria establish a state average of five points. Each municipality’s affordability points are added up and compared to the State’s. A municipality with points below 5.0, would generally be in better position to afford a project, where as a municipality with points above 5.0 would likely be in more need of financial assistance. In determining the affordability of a project, the Department has established that a municipality’s affordability points must exceed the total of the State average points by 40% to be eligible for additional financial assistance. Therefore, the sum of a municipality’s affordability criteria must be a minimum of 7.0 (140% of 5.0) points to be eligible for possible principal forgiveness under the CWSRF program and/or grants through the Construction Gant Program. Whenever possible, the DEP works with local officials to combine grant funds, loan funds, and other sources of funding from U.S.D.A. Rural Development, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and H.U.D. Community Development Block Grants program in an effort to keep user charges below an affordability threshold.

Funding

Under this program, and within the availability of funding, the Commissioner is authorized to grant an amount not to exceed 25% of the costs for preliminary planning of a pollution abatement program and design of a wastewater infrastructure project; and an amount not to exceed 80% of the construction and construction engineering costs for a wastewater infrastructure project, i.e. treatment facilities, sewer systems and effluent outfalls.

How to apply

Wastewater Planning Grant

The Department has allocated $125,000 for Wastewater Planning Grants in state fiscal year 2019. Grants may be awarded in the amount of 15–25% of the eligible costs for preliminary planning of a pollution abatement plan, i.e. facilities plan, preliminary engineering report, etc., up to a maximum of $10,000 per applicant. To be eligible for a planning grant, applicants with a wastewater treatment system must have affordability points of 7.0, or higher. Applicants without an existing wastewater system are exempt from this requirement. There is No Deadline for submission of an application and the Wastewater Planning Grant User Rate Calculator. Applications may be submitted throughout the year and will be processed and awarded to eligible applicants in order of receipt, until allocated funds are expended. Please see the State Wastewater Infrastructure Planning and Construction Grants Available (PDF) announcement for details.

Wastewater Infrastructure Grant

The Department allocated $13,650,000 for Wastewater Infrastructure Grants in state fiscal year 2019 for grants in the amount of 15-25% of the eligible costs for design and up to 80% of the eligible construction costs (bidding, construction administration and inspection, and construction). In awarding the grants, applicant's affordability points will be calculated taking into consideration the estimated project cost and all funding sources. To be eligible for a Design/Construction grant, the applicant's affordability points must be 7.0, or higher. The deadline for submitting an application for this year’s funding was February 15, 2019.  The Department has completed reviewing the applications and on May 31, 2019 notified all applicants of the 2019 Wastewater Infrastructure Final Grant Offers.

Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF)

Through a partnership between the Maine Municipal Bond Bank (MMBB) and the DEP, the CWSRF program provides low interest loans to municipalities and quasi-municipal corporations (i.e. village corporations, sanitary, sewer & utility districts, etc.) for the construction of wastewater infrastructure projects. The DEP Division of Water Quality Management (DWQM) administers the technical aspects of the CWSRF program and the projects funded by it. The long-term goal of the CWSRF is to establish a self-sustaining loan program that will maintain and improve Maine's inventory of municipal sewage facilities in perpetuity. By working toward a self-sustaining fund, Maine’s municipal sewage treatment facilities can be better maintained resulting in better water quality throughout the state.

Projects

The primary purpose of the fund is to acquire, plan, design, construct, enlarge, repair and/or improve publicly-owned sewage collection systems, interceptor sewers, pumping stations, and wastewater treatment plants. In addition, the program also funds public and private non-point source water quality protection and improvement projects; such as landfill closures, sand/salt storage facilities, septic system repair and replacement, storm water projects, agricultural best management practices, and specific silviculture equipment purchases.

Funding

The CWSRF program is funded by federal and state contributions which are loaned out and repaid with interest. The repayment and interest money is recycled back into the program to fund additional water quality protection or improvement projects. The revolving nature of the program is designed to provide ongoing funding for water quality projects. The MMBB combines federal, state, and repayment monies to create attractive interest rates. The program offers interim financing at 1%, or two-thirds of the one-year AAA municipal tax-exempt rate, whichever is higher, and long-term financing at, 2% below the market rate, with a minimum 1% interest rate. Loan terms up to 30 years or the useful life of the project, whichever is less, are available. If an entity has the financial capacity to borrow and that the program has sufficient funding, there is no minimum or maximum amount that an entity must or can borrow.

How to apply

Maine’s CWSRF program is an open enrollment program with no application deadline unless the loan applicant is interested in qualifying for a loan with additional subsidy. To apply for a loan without additional subsidy, simply complete the CWSRF Notification of Intent to Borrow form and submit it to the Department as instructed and complete the SRF financial Application located on the MMBB website and submit to the MMBB. Loan applicants interested in qualifying for a loan with additional subsidy are required to submit a different application to the Department by a specific deadline. When available, those details are provided in the following section.

Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 Clean Water State Revolving Fund

In February the Department notified municipal discharges, non-point source control entities, and consulting engineers of the FFY 2019 funding available for wastewater infrastructure and water pollution abatement projects and requested that they submit a listing of any projects to be considered for funding. The FFY 2019 federal appropriation allows States to use a portion of their capitalization grant as additional subsidy to borrowers. Based on the federal appropriation and Maine’s capitalization grant of $12,300,000, Maine’s CWSRF can offer up to a maximum of $4,920,000 in additional subsidy. For the eleventh year, the Department will be offering this subsidy in the form of loan principal forgiveness to borrowers.

Congress and EPA encourage States to target this subsidy for public health and water quality protection projects to communities that could otherwise not afford an SRF loan. In addition, green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements and sustainable infrastructure through implementation of fiscal sustainability plans are also a priority to EPA. This necessitates the ranking of the projects to determine which projects will receive a portion of the limited principal forgiveness. An explanation of how principal forgiveness will be allocated in 2019 is included in the priority system section of the Final Intended Use Plan (IUP) for FFY 2019 below.

Using the FFY 2019 ranking criteria, the Department reviewed information submitted by applicants for their proposed projects and developed a list of projects for funding through the CWSRF. Offers consisting of low interest loans and/or principal forgiveness were made to fund proposed projects on the Draft 2019 CWSRF Proposed Project List contained in the Draft IUP. Not all loan offers were accepted. The Final Intended Use Plan (IUP) for FFY 2019 contains a listing of the projects that the Department anticipates funding in partnership with the Maine Municipal Bond Bank.

In compliance with the requirement in the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Section 606(c), the Department posted the Intended Use Plan in draft form for public review and comment. The Department also provided notice of the availability of this IUP to all organizations and individuals in its CWSRF distribution list by email on June 6, 2019. No comments were received during the comment period.

FFY 2019 Documents

Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA)

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA) became law on June 10, 2014. In addition to other things, the law made amendments to Title VI of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, thereby affecting change in the CWSRF program. Although most of the amendments became effective on October 1, 2014, some of them are being phased in through October 1, 2015. EPA’s Interpretive Guidance provides a listing of the amendments and EPA’s guidance on the changes. The Department has notified municipal officials, wastewater districts, and environmental consultants, and potential loan applicants of the program changes, new requirements, and new program eligibilities. One of the new requirements of loan recipients is the development and implementation of a Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) for a project that involves the repair, replacement, or expansion of a treatment works. In accordance with the Interpretive Guidance, the Department has developed State requirements and guidance for loan recipients to comply with the FSP requirement.

Contact

John True Engineering Services Manager (207) 287-7808
Division of Water Quality Management
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017

Prior Year Documents

Rules

Chapter 595, State Revolving Fund, Contains requirements pertaining to the SRF program.

Statutes

38 MRSA §411, State Contribution To Pollution Abatement (off-site)
38 MRSA §412, Grants By State For Planning (off-site)
30-A MRSA §5953-A
, Loans From Revolving Loan Fund (off-site)
30-A MRSA §6006-A, Revolving Loan Fund (off-site)

Supplemental Materials

Construction Contract Documents, Forms, and Information

General

American Iron and Steel Information and Forms

Davis-Bacon Act Documents and Forms

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Forms

Miscellaneous