Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today announced that five communities, two utility districts and two water/wastewater authorities have been approved to receive more than $15.1 million in low-interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
"I am pleased to see local governments using this important program to help address critical drinking water and wastewater needs, making infrastructure improvements that will benefit the health of these communities and foster economic growth," Haslam said.
The State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Program provides low-interest loans that help communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities finance projects that protect Tennessee's ground and surface waters and public health. Loans are used to finance the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater facilities.
Through the SRF Program, communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities can obtain loans with lower interest rates than most can obtain through private financing. Interest rates for loans can vary from zero percent to market rate based on each community's economic index. Loans utilizing EPA grant funds include a principal forgiveness component for water and wastewater projects.
"The State Revolving Fund Loan Program is a community investment to help maintain environmental and public health, while keeping local communities moving forward as they prepare for future needs," Martineau said.
The Department of Environment and Conservation administers the SRF Loan Program for the state of Tennessee in conjunction with the Tennessee Local Development Authority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides grants to fund the program, and the state provides a 20 percent match. Loan repayments are returned to the program and are used to fund future SRF loans.
The funding order of projects is determined by the SRF Loan Program's Priority Ranking Lists that rank potential projects according to the severity of their pollution and/or compliance problems or for the protection of public health.