Drinking Water State Revolving Funds Now Available to Private Water Companies

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With the passage of the state budget, the North Carolina General Assembly has made investor- owned utilities eligible to apply for loans and grants from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF is a federally-funded program designed to fund drinking water improvement projects and is administered by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Resources (formerly the Division of Environmental Health). The program is designed to remedy serious risks to human health and facilitate compliance with the N.C. Drinking Water Act and federal Safe Drinking Water Act through low interest loans. Loans are made at one-half of the prevailing national market rate for a period of up to twenty years, with the current loan rate at 2.455%.

Prior to the budgetary changes, DWSRF loans and grants were only available to local governments or nonprofit water corporations. Beginning this year, privately owned utilities can apply for these grants as well. The legislative change opens the door for private utilities to use low-cost loans to finance capital infrastructure replacements and improvements related to drinking water. In 2010, North Carolina received a federal allotment of over $35,500,000 for the DWSRF program. Pursuant to state regulations, the maximum loan commitment to any applicant in any fiscal year is $3,000,000 for construction and $25,000 for planning purposes.

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