Clean Water State Revolving Fund Explained – Magdalene Cunningham, CWSRF Coordinator

Magdalene Cunningham, CWSRF Coordinator – Office of Infrastructure and Assistance EPA Region 3, Water Protection Division gave an overall introduction to the Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund by answering the questions of Where, When, What, Who, and How.

Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a part of the Clean Water Act Amendments of 1987. The Amendment replaces the construction grants with a revolving fund program.

Where does the money come from?

EPA gives a certain capital fund to each state level. For example Pennsylvania receives $50 million from US EPA while Delaware only receives $3 million. These money are used as loans to projects around the state including wastewater treatment, nonpoint source water treatment, and estuary protection. Bonds are also another method that states can go about with the capital funding.When are the funds are available?

The funds are available all year around. The states must give US EPA intend of use plan with a project priority list each year. Although approvals must go through US EPA, the states has the power to decide which projects are on the top of the priority list. Currently although US EPA gives out a capital fund, the state must match 20% of the fund and through repayment methods such as bond proceeds, interest earning, and principles the program is a success.

What types of project gets funded?

Section 212 projects and section 319 are non-point projects while Section320 are for estuary programs

Section 212 project are publically owned projects including wastewater treatment facilities, storm water management, collection systems, combined sewer overflows, water reuse, and energy and water efficiency projects. Section 319 also referred to as green infrastructure projects. This is more for the individuals. Projects include septic system repairs, agriculture BMPs, land conservation, stream restoration, wetland construction, brownfields, and landfill Leachate Collection system. Section 320 are for projects that are within the watershed of the estuaries. Section 320 Projects also include section 212 and 319 as long as it is within the watershed. Private wastewater facilities as well as large concentrated animal feeding operations are also included in the section; again as long as it is related to the estuaries. Currently, the US EPA revolving fund are not available for operation and maintenance except in equipment

Who can get a loan?

Local governments, water authorities, sewer authorities, stormwater authorities, non-profit organizations, for-profit businesses, home-owner associations, individual homeowners, and farmers. Although it seems like anyone can get a loan; nationally, the local government and authorities are the main players in the program.

How does the fund work?

Borrowers submit application to state clean water state revolving fund, state review and rank the projects, state prepares intend use plan for public comment and review, state executes loan for projects and projects are managed. State pays invoices during construction and inspects the projects. Once the project is complete, repayments begins within 1 year.

Why get a loan?

CWSRF has very low interest and is always below market interest. This is written into the program. Repayment periods are from 20 years and can go up to 30 years even at the low interest rate. Payment source can be various types. The loan is very easy to apply and there are various subsidies such as principle forgiveness if repayments are impossible. Collaterals can also be involve in the program. Currently at least in Region 3, no houses have been collected via collateral.

For more information about CWSRF, please contact Magdalene Cunningham at Please mention University of Pennsylvania Masters of Environmental Studies Program in the email.


About t5huang

Masters in Environmental Science at UPenn Candidate
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