Engineering Planning Grant Program

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Overview

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), in conjunction with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), will offer grants to municipalities to help pay for the initial planning of eligible Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) water quality projects. Up to $2.5 million has been made available for this round of the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant (EPG) program.

Grants of up to $100,000  are available to municipalities to fund engineering and planning to produce an engineering report. 

The goal of the EPG program is to encourage communities to advance water quality projects to design and ultimately construction by funding the development of an engineering report so the community may be prepared to seek financing through the CWSRF program, Water Quality Improvement Project program, or other funding entities to further pursue the identified solution. 

To print a copy of the 2021 EPG program overview Click here.

2020 EPG Grant Awards

Eligibility
  • Municipalities as defined in the Definitions section of this document with median household income (MHI): 
    • Equal to or less than $70,000 according to the United States Census, 2017 American Community Survey for municipalities located in Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions of Capital District, Southern Tier, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central NY, Finger Lakes, or Western NY; or
    • Equal to or less than $90,000 according to the United States Census, 2017 American Community Survey for municipalities located in REDC regions of Long Island, New York City and Mid-Hudson.

A summary of the United States Census, 2017 American Community Survey MHI data can be found under Additional Information. An income survey for the service area of the project that has been approved by EFC within the past five years may be used in place of the 2017 census data.

  • Municipalities may have no more than two active EPG awards at the same time.  An active EPG award includes a project that has been awarded funding and is awaiting an executed grant agreement or currently has an executed grant agreement with EFC that does not have an accepted engineering report.

Funding must be used by municipalities for the preparation of an engineering report.  This includes planning activities to determine the scope of water quality issues, evaluation of alternatives, and the recommendation of a capital improvement project. In addition, the costs to conduct an environmental review for the recommended alternative are eligible. Design and construction costs are not eligible.

  • Projects that would not lead to the restoration or protection of a surface waterbody or groundwater.
  • Projects that do not address improvements to a publicly owned treatment works.
  • Projects and scope that are listed on the 2021 CWSRF Intended Use Plan Annual Project Priority List.
  • Projects that were previously funded by an EPG for the same scope and project area.
  • Projects with a completed engineering report. 
Evaluation Criteria

Priority will be given to municipalities proposing planning projects that are:

  • required by an executed DEC Order on Consent; or 
  • required by a DEC draft or final State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit (e.g. nutrient removal, inflow and infiltration, disinfection); or
  • for upgrading or replacing an existing wastewater system; or
  • for constructing a wastewater treatment and/or collection system for an area with failing onsite septic systems; or
  • addressing a pollutant of concern in a watershed implementation plan (see Definitions section).

New York State demonstrates a commitment to Environmental Justice (EJ) and remedies for communities that may be burdened by negative environmental consequences. Environmental justice is defined by the State as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.  A report for a proposed project that positively impacts water quality in an EJ community or will positively impact drinking water quality serving an EJ community will receive points in the evaluation of an application where indicated.  Maps of EJ areas in New York State are available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/911.html. 

To qualify for EJ points, your application must include details demonstrating water quality improvement to an EJ area or to drinking water serving an EJ community - where the benefit will be provided or the area served by the drinking water source. 

Applications will be scored out of 100 points and selected based on criteria on the following page. A maximum of 80 points will be determined by EFC and DEC, and an additional 20 points will be determined by your Regional Economic Development Council.

Scoring Rubric

Grant Award Categories

There are three grant award categories, as listed below, for the planning of wastewater infrastructure projects. The first two categories are for any wastewater infrastructure-related planning activity, including disinfection. The third category is limited to inflow and infiltration evaluations as a result of a DEC Order on Consent or SPDES Permit Compliance Schedule.

Category 1 - $30,000 Grant

  • Population of Municipality: 10,000 or less according to the United States Census, 2017 American Community Survey. 

Category 2 - $50,000 Grant

  • Population of Municipality: Greater than 10,000 according to the United States Census, 2017 American Community Survey. 

Category 3 - $100,000 Grant 

  • Only for inflow and infiltration projects as a result of an Order on Consent or SPDES Permit Compliance Schedule (proof of enforcement must be provided)
  • Population of Municipality: no limit

Population data can be found under Additional Information.

Local Match: All grants require a local match equal to 20 percent of the requested grant amount. The match may include cash and/or in-kind services. Other grants may not be used for local match. The applicant must identify the source of the match at the time that the application is submitted.

Award Requirements

Successful applicants must enter into a grant agreement to receive grant funds. Below are requirements to enter into a grant agreement. 

The grant agreement must be executed within 6 months of the grant award. 

EFC is committed to promoting participation opportunities for New York State ("State") certified minority- and women-owned business enterprises ("MWBEs") and federal disadvantaged business enterprises ("DBEs"), and equal employment opportunities ("EEO") for minority group members and women in the performance of EFC contracts as well as contracts that receive financial assistance through EFC's various programs.

More about MWBE/DBE/EEO

The goal of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act, signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on May 12, 2014, allows eligible Veteran business owners to get certified as a New York State Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB). The goal of the Act is to encourage and support eligible SDVOBs to play a greater role in the state’s economy by increasing their participation in New York State’s contracting opportunities.

MORE ABOUT SDVOB

  • SEQR: All applicants for EFC financial assistance are required to assess the environmental impacts of their projects pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act.

The project budget identifies all known and estimated costs for the preparation of an engineering report, as well as any in-kind or support services. Actual executed contract or agreement amounts should be used when available.

The project budget includes a plan of finance that identifies all sources of moneys expected to fund the total cost of the preparation of the engineering report, including the required local match. This includes the estimated amount of EFC grant and the municipal contribution. 

Project Budget and Plan of Finance Template

A board resolution is a motion or formal proposition adopted by an entity's governing body setting forth the intent of that body. An applicant seeking EFC financial assistance must submit a certified copy of a resolution that authorizes, among other things: undertaking of the project and the maximum total cost of the project; expenditures for the project, including identification of any non-municipal source of funds; obligation of funds necessary to meet any required local match, including any cash and/or in-kind services; and application to EFC for financial assistance. The resolution must also designate a representative of the applicant who is authorized to sign the funding agreement with EFC and any associated documents. If the applicant is issuing debt for the project and has adopted a bond resolutions, a separate board resolution may not be necessary. 

An engineering agreement is a contract with a professional engineering firm for planning, design, and/or construction management services. Planning services involve the development of an engineering report. Design services result in the production of plans and specifications for the project. 

Proof of the legal right to own, operate and maintain the project for the duration of its useful life.  

Engineering Report

The report must follow EFC’s current Engineering Report Outline, consider storm and flood resiliency (sea level rise, storm surge, potential for flooding impacts, or other extreme weather event) , consider impacts on environmental justice areas, and include a comprehensive analysis of the following alternatives:

  • No-action alternative
  • Green infrastructure, in combination with gray infrastructure or individually, is required for projects involving stormwater, including stormwater inflow to sewer systems. A justification must be provided if a green infrastructure component is not part of the recommended alternative.
  • Repair or replacement versus new construction
  • Regional consolidation opportunities
  • Centralized versus decentralized (for new systems), or a combination thereof (small cluster or individual systems)

Any alternatives considered technically infeasible should be identified as such and the rationale briefly discussed. 

Smart Growth alternative(s) must be considered and documented in the engineering report.

Find more information regarding Smart Growth

 

ENGINEERING REPORT OUTLINE

 

 

Additional Information

The grant will be disbursed in two or more payments based on the municipality’s progress toward completion of an acceptable engineering report. The municipality will receive its first disbursement as an advance payment once the grant agreement is executed. The final disbursement will be made to the municipality when its engineering report has been completed and accepted by EFC/DEC.

The State encourages grant recipients to use the engineering report completed with support from an EPG grant to seek financing through the CWSRF program, Water Quality Improvement Project program, or from other funding entities to pursue the recommended solution. 

If an applicant chooses to submit multiple applications for their municipality, please prioritize the applications. Please note, municipalities may only have two active EPG awards.

In-Kind Services - means services performed by capable and qualified employees of the grant recipient for technical and administrative force accounts that are directly related to and in support of the development of the Engineering Report and are deemed reasonable by EFC.

Municipality - means any county, city, town, village, district corporation, county or town improvement district, Indian reservation wholly within New York State, any public benefit corporation or public authority established pursuant to the laws of New York or any agency of New York State which is empowered to construct and operate a project, or any two or more of the foregoing which are acting jointly in connection with a project. 

Planning - means the orderly development of a project concept from the original statement of need or purpose through the evaluation of alternatives to a final recommendation on a course of action and measures to implement the selected alternative, including completion of the environmental review process. 

Treatment Works (Publicly-Owned) –means any devices and systems used in the storage, treatment, recycling and reclamation of municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature. It also includes sewers, pipes and other conveyances, only if they convey wastewater to a publicly owned treatment plant, and combined storm water and sanitary sewer systems.

Watershed Implementation Plan – means Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), DEC Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Action Plan (https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/113733.html), or DEC-approved Nine Element Plan (https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/103264.html).