Georgia Water Funding Applications Due Feb. 26

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Trooper Smith

Infrastructure Engineer

Water and wastewater infrastructure are endearingly labeled the offensive linemen of public works. Nobody knows about them until there’s a problem. Water utilities across the country are facing substantial deferred maintenance, a shortfall of roughly $109 billion per year, according to a new report by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Value of Water Campaign. One of the most commonly leveraged alternatives to municipal bonds is the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loan. In Georgia, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) administers both the CWSRF and the DWSRF, as well as their Georgia Fund.

Potential projects for either CWSRF or DWSRF must complete a preapplication in order to be included in the 2021 SRF Intended Use Plan, and to see if they are eligible for principal forgiveness. Utilities submit a pre-application with project-related information. Those pre-applications are due on Feb. 26. CWSRF and DWSRF provide low interest loans, at 50 basis points (0.5%) below the benchmark rate. For non-conservation projects, this translates to a 0.63% interest rate on a 20-year loan for 2021 awardees! CWSRF and DWSRF offer some principal forgiveness (grant subsidy) for eligible applicants. In 2019, GEFA’s Board awarded 29 CWSRF loans totaling $154.9 million and 21 DWSRF loans totaling $85.5 million.

Projects eligible for CWSRF include:

  • wastewater treatment
  • sewer line repair and replacement
  • correction of inflow and infiltration
  • flood protection
  • energy efficiency

Projects eligible for DWSRF include:

  • water supply/conservation
  • water line repair and replacement
  • meter replacement
  • energy efficiency
  • compliance-related deficiencies such as water quality, capacity, pressure and water loss

GEFA also administers its Georgia Fund, a low-interest loan program with a slightly higher benchmark rate and the same reduction in interest rate as CWSRF/DWSRF (0.5%). For non-conservation projects, this translates to a 1.13% interest rate on a 20-year loan for 2021 awardees! Applications for the Georgia Fund are accepted year-round, although they need to be received two months prior to GEFA Board meetings, so the next deadline is March 2021. In 2019, GEFA’s Board awarded five Georgia Fund loans totaling $8.1 million.

GEFA’s loan programs and their recipients are making meaningful improvements to our state’s infrastructure and economy. Across all of its loan programs in 2019, GEFA provided financing to 48 communities, saving Georgians $46 million in interest costs. GEFA awards well over $100 million in loans every year, putting utility managers in less Hail Mary situations and more Second-and-Goal situations.

If you have any questions about funding and implementing your community’s projects, please pick up the phone or email me, your Freese and Nichols Project Manager, or Freese and Nichols’ Funding Specialist Mark Evans.

Trooper Smith 770.799.6744 | trooper.smith@freese.com 
Mark Evans | 512.596.3670 | mark.evans@freese.com  

 

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Trooper Smith, PE, ENV SP, is a Vice President/Principal in Georgia’s Atlanta Metro office.