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Water Quality Priorities Now Eligible for the CWSRF

 

Vermont’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is a federal-state program that provides communities with a permanent and independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. This is the second in a series of VLCT News articles tracing the evolution of the CWSRF, a result of Act 185, which became law in May 2018. Last month, we wrote about how the program has expanded to include private entities. This month, we explore the program’s new flexibility to fund a broad range of projects with clean water benefits.

 

The CWSRF program established in 1987 limited project eligibility to “water abatement and control facilities,” i.e., municipal wastewater treatment plants, or so-called publically owned treatment works (POTWs). Since then, the federal program has expanded to include many “nontraditional” projects that focus on green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmental innovation. The federal program gives states the flexibility to direct funding to their particular environmental needs, so long as they further the health and environmental protection objectives of the federal Clean Water Act.

By amending the statutory definition of “water pollution abatement and control facilities” to include a more wide-ranging “clean water project” definition, Act 185 expanded CWSRF eligibility in Vermont to include all federally eligible project types with a clean water benefit. Now, in addition to “traditional” water pollution abatement and control facilities, the Vermont CWSRF applies to all projects listed under Section 603(c) of the Clean Water Act, such as:

  • Energy and water conservation
  • Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • Contaminated sites and landfills
  • Habitat protection and restoration
  • Silviculture
  • Groundwater and surface water protection and restoration
  • Phosphorus removal
  • Stormwater treatment and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI)
  • Acquisition of easements and land for the purpose of providing water quality benefits

Vermont CWSRF staff will determine eligibility to ensure that projects are consistent with federal and state statutes. More information on eligibility is available on EPA’s “Overview of Clean Water State Revolving Fund Eligibilities,” found at www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-07/documents/overview_of_cwsrf_eligibilities_may_2016.pdf.

If you have any questions, please contact VLCT Water Resources Coordinator Milly Archer at marcher@vlct.org or 800-649-7915 and she will provide an answer or direct you to someone who can.