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By the Numbers: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund helps communities across Michigan provide high quality drinking water to residents

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) administered by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) assists Michigan’s public water systems in protecting public health and complying with federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements by financing drinking water infrastructure capital improvement projects.

The City of Melvindale works on replacing aging water main in the distribution system.

The City of Melvindale works on replacing aging water main in the distribution system. 


In fiscal year 2023, the DWSRF awarded over $212 million in loans, including $65 million that was non-repayable principal forgiveness, and over $229 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) grants to 31 water systems across Michigan.

The funding support ranged geographically from the cities of Bessemer and Melvindale, two of the applicants EGLE partnered with to address similar issues. They are separated by over 450 miles, or a nearly ten-hour drive.

Located along US Highway 2 in the western Upper Peninsula, Bessemer supplies drinking water to its 1,800 residents from Gogebic Range Water Authority’s well field and water treatment plant. Bessemer completed a water asset management plan in 2018 that identified issues in its distribution system that includes over 20 miles of water main. System deficiencies included undersized and deteriorating pipes, aging water storage facility components, and lead service lines.

Located between I-94 and I-75 on the southern border of the City of Detroit, Melvindale supplies drinking water to its 12,800 residents from Great Lakes Water Authority’s surface water intake and water treatment plant. Melvindale completed a water asset management plan in 2017 that identified issues in its 25 miles of distribution system including undersized and deteriorating pipes and lead service lines. Mayor Wheeler Marsee of Melvindale said, “Our system right now is almost 80 years old. The water main breaks that we’ve experienced in the past are just horrendous. We have a minimum billing system here due to the fact that the [water] loss is so great.”

In 2023 the DWSRF financed water main replacement and lead service line replacements (LSLR) for both applicants, as well as water storage improvements in Bessemer.

Bessemer was awarded a DWSRF low interest loan totaling $519,221 to cover LSLR made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), with $254,418 in principal loan forgiveness along with an ARP grant totaling $588,979. 

Melvindale financed $280,000 in LSLR project costs with a BIL DWSRF loan, which included $137,200 in loan principal forgiveness. In addition, Melvindale was awarded a $4,377,800 ARP grant by EGLE. Mayor Marsee added, “Melvindale could not do this by ourselves as a city. We need these funds here in Melvindale to upgrade our system to better our city. We really appreciate the opportunity to take advantage of these programs.”

As a result of being identified as disadvantaged communities by EGLE, both projects received a combination of ARP grants and BIL DWSRF principal forgiveness at 75 percent of the eligible project totals.  The remaining costs were financed by below market, low-interest DWSRF loans and local, non-DWSRF funds.