EGLE clean water loans hit $5 billion milestone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2020
Nick Assendelft, Public Information Officer, AssendelftN@Michigan.gov, 517-388-3135

Communities can tap state revolving fund for infrastructure upgrades

Four low-interest loans were awarded today through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) for water pollution control projects that support the protection of Michigan’s environment and public health.

While Michigan’s infrastructure needs remain large, the CWSRF has played a significant role in assisting with addressing infrastructure needs and supporting improved water quality across the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made upgrading the state’s infrastructure a top priority. With the issuance today of four loans totaling $20.9 million, the amount financed through the CWSRF program since 1989 now exceeds $5 billion.

The CWSRF helps communities throughout Michigan to better afford the cost of wastewater treatment system improvements, storm water treatment projects and nonpoint source pollution control projects. The low-interest loans offer a revolving pool of funding that is available to all municipalities and levels the playing field among applicants. The loans help utilities to lessen the rate impact on customers over the life of the loan.

CWSRF loans have been awarded to more than 600 communities in 61 of Michigan’s 83 counties. The largest loan was awarded in 2007 to Detroit for $167.5 million, while the smallest was awarded to Ann Arbor in 2011 for $55,000.

“The City of Marquette has participated in the CWSRF program since 2002,” said Curt Goodman, the director of municipal utilities for Marquette. “The program has provided $22,546,000 in funding to complete much needed infrastructure improvement projects to protect the state's waters.”

The loan awards announced today:

  • Escanaba in Delta County: $14,000,000 for wastewater treatment plant improvements.
  • Chocolay Township in Marquette County: $3,500,000 to pump station replacement.
  • Owosso in Shiawassee County (2 loans): $2,145,000 for wastewater treatment plant improvements and $1,285,000 for sewer rehabilitation.

Michigan has an $800 million annual gap in water and sewer funding infrastructure needs, according to the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report. CWSRF loans help to close that gap by offering a means for municipalities to complete deferred maintenance or construction projects, thereby reducing wastewater’s harmful impact on the environment. Upgrades to treatment plants and sewer systems reduce the amount of untreated discharges to rivers and lakes and allow for more a cost-effective treatment of millions of gallons of wastewater.

Better handling and treatment of wastewater has a direct effect on public health, including cleaner beaches, healthier drinking water and fewer harmful algal blooms. Reducing pollution also benefits critical habitat for birds, animals and aquatic species.

“The Washtenaw County Water Resources Office has financed over $20 million since the program was opened up to nonpoint source projects,” said Harry Sheehan, chief deputy of the Washtenaw County Water Resources. “The program has provided a consistently reliable financing mechanism focused on water quality treatment and protection. We are seeing quantifiable results in macroinvertebrate populations in storm and stream flow response during storm events.”

“The loan forgiveness in the CWSRF program for projects with green components and/or disadvantaged status allowed Kinross to complete a third segment of a critical project that would not have been possible otherwise,” said Brian W. Masterson, superintendent of Kinross Charter Township’s Water and Sewer Department. “The below market interest rate combined with loan forgiveness provided substantial savings over any other option.”

The state’s Water Asset Management Council and Michigan Infrastructure Council were created to coordinate infrastructure-related goals and develop a long-term strategy for the state’s infrastructure assets. The infrastructure council brings together experts for regional and statewide planning focused on stretching taxpayer dollars further through development and sharing of asset management best practices and creatively facilitating a “dig once” policy and collaboration on construction projects.

Information about the CWSRF program and application criteria can be found at EGLE's Clean Water State Revolving Fund page.

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