Massachusetts officials announced $1.3 billion in funding for 185 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
“Our residents deserve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure that fully meets their needs at an affordable cost,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This year’s unprecedented investments will go a long way toward improving the quality of life and implementing environmental safeguards that will last generations.”
The funding, provided in low-interest-rate loans and grants, will fund construction, planning and asset management projects designed to improve water quality, upgrade or replace aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and cut treatment plant energy use and costs. The offerings include nearly $173 million in additional funding from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
“State Revolving Fund assistance is vital to helping communities construct and modernize critical water infrastructure and address the problems presented by emerging contaminants and lead,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Our administration is committed to protecting public health, and this funding is a difference-maker for local communities and the people they serve.”
The State Revolving Fund (SRF) financing is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust.
The projects include 50 drinking water construction projects (Table 1) totaling approximately $381 million and 61 clean water construction projects (Table 1) totaling approximately $880 million. An additional $4 million will be offered by the Trust as grants for 39 Asset Management Planning projects.
Communities offered SRF financing in this round must decide to move forward with the project by June 30, 2023, and secure local funding authority.
In accordance with the Clean Energy Results Program under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), 35 of the water infrastructure projects receiving financing are for renewable energy, energy efficiency or green infrastructure initiatives.
64 of the new projects are eligible to receive principal forgiveness. Principal forgiveness is awarded to renewable energy projects and for projects in communities that meet the affordability criteria established by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The affordability criteria factors in per capita income, unemployment rate and population trends.
The Commonwealth has also offered to reduce the SRF borrowing rate from 2 percent to 1.5 percent for communities that support the Housing Choice Initiative. Twenty applicants have the Housing Choice designation: Acton, Andover, Barnstable, Billerica, Brockton, Everett, Franklin, Lawrence, Littleton, Lowell, Melrose, Nantucket, Plymouth, Quincy, Somerville, Stoughton, Sudbury, Taunton, Tyngsborough, and Worcester.
This year, the Clean Water SRF provides $903 million in financing for clean water projects across the Commonwealth. Approximately $878 million will finance 59 new construction projects, $2 million will be allocated toward financing two previously approved multi-year projects, $3 million has been allocated to the emergency set-aside account, $5 million will be directed to the Community Septic Management Program to remediate failed septic systems in participating communities, and $15 million has been set-aside to finance planning and PFAS design projects.
The Drinking Water SRF provides $431 million in financing for drinking water projects across the Commonwealth. Approximately $311 million will finance 39 new construction projects, approximately $69 million will be allocated toward financing 11 previously approved multi-year projects, $5 million will fund an emergency set-aside account, $10 million has been set-aside to finance planning and PFAS design projects, and $35 million has been set-aside to finance lead service line replacement projects.
An additional $4 million will be offered by the Trust as grants for 39 Asset Management Planning projects, with 27 communities qualifying with Clean Water projects and 12 communities qualifying with Drinking Water projects.