To assist New York communities rebuild smarter and stronger following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Andrew Cuomo has marshaled the resources of state and federal governments to protect vital services from future storms. Planning experts on the Governor’s NYS 2100 Commission recommended in January 2013 that measures be undertaken to improve the resiliency of water treatment facilities that were overwhelmed by flooding caused by Sandy.
Soon afterward, President Obama signed the “Disaster Relief Appropriations Act” (DRAA), providing $340 million for the New York State Storm Mitigation Loan Program.
The Storm Mitigation Loan Program will be administered by the Environmental Facilities Corporation, along with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health, and will be made available through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) program.
Of the federal funds made available under DRAA, New York State's share will be approximately $340 million: $283.1 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and $56.6 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Five percent was removed due to sequestration.
DRAA allows each state to offer up to 30% of the federal funds in the form of grant, which equates to $84.9 million for the CWSRF and $17 million for the DWSRF. Each state must supply a 20% match to secure the grant, which requires an additional $56.6 million for the CWSRF and $11.3 million for the DWSRF, bringing the total amount of financial assistance available to $339.7 million for the CWSRF and $67.9 million for the DWSRF.
Financing will be available to reduce flood damage risk and vulnerability or to enhance resiliency to rapid hydrologic change or a natural disaster at treatment works, as defined by section 212 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or any eligible facilities under section 1452 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and for other eligible tasks at such treatment works or facilities necessary to further such purposes.
An eligible entity for these funds is otherwise any SRF eligible entity within a county of the declared disaster that was damaged or had a loss or disruption of a mission-essential function, including loss of function where there was potential impact to public health, or non-profit organizations whose projects will make such treatment works and community water systems more resilient to future storms or other natural disasters.
The 14 New York counties declared disaster areas following Superstorm Sandy are: Bronx, Greene, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. The map of the declared disaster areas for New York can be found here.
A project that is otherwise SRF eligible and serves one of the following purposes is eligible for financing under the Storm Mitigation Loan Program:
- Reduces the likelihood of physical damage to a treatment works or drinking water system;
- Reduces a treatment works’ or water system’s susceptibility to physical damage or ancillary impacts caused by floods;
- Facilitates preparation for, adaptation to, or recovery from a sudden, unplanned change in the amount of and movement of water in proximity to a treatment works or water system; or,
- Facilitates preparation for, adaptation to, or recovery from climate change or any other type of natural disaster.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has issued eligibility guidelines for Clean Water and Drinking Water projects here. While EFC will be contacting local governments with further information on the Storm Mitigation Loan Program, municipal operators are urged to check the EFC website frequently for updates and new details.