The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides interest-free or low-interest rate financing for wastewater and water quality improvement projects to municipalities throughout New York State. A variety of point source, non-point source, and national estuary projects are eligible for financing, including construction or restoration of sewers and wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater management, landfill closures, as well as habitat restoration and protection projects.
The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annually provides a grant to the state to capitalize the CWSRF program. EFC uses this federal money, along with the required State match funds equal to 20% to fund projects for the purpose of preserving, protecting, or improving water quality. As borrowers repay their loans, repayments of principal and interest earnings are recycled back into the CWSRF program to finance new projects and allow the funds to "revolve" over time.
Since the inception of the CWSRF program in 1990, EFC, in conjunction with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, has provided more than $28.5 billion in low-cost financing.
There are several different types of financings available to CWSRF applicants. EFC provides both short and long-term financings, at zero or low interest to accommodate municipalities of all population sizes with varying financial needs.
To receive funding under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) both the applicant and the project must be eligible.
- Municipalities, including any county, city, town, village, district corporation, county or town improvement district, school district, Indian nation or tribe recognized by the State or the United States with a reservation wholly or partly within the boundaries of New York State, any water authority now existing in a city, or any agency of New York State which is empowered to construct and operate an eligible project.
- Non-municipal entities seeking to construct, repair or replace a decentralized wastewater treatment system that treats municipal wastewater or domestic sewage may be able to apply for financing.
- Water quality projects whose primary purpose is water protection are eligible for financing for the entire cost of the project.
- Projects with a primary purpose other than water quality may be partially eligible for financing for the portion of the project that is clearly related to the preservation, improvement, or protection of water quality.
- Point source projects, such as wastewater treatment plants and sewers.
Please Note: Assistance may only be provided for projects that are consistent with applicable area-wide water quality plans.
- Water supply treatment distribution system projects, except for the wastewater and waste solids components of these systems.
- Municipal solid waste projects, except for the water quality components of these projects.
- The legal, administrative, and engineering expense of defending against a state or federal enforcement action.
- Routine operation and maintenance (O&M) costs of wastewater treatment facilities or general O&M costs that are outside the scope of a capital project.
Under the federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act), the State is required by EPA to prepare a plan identifying the intended uses of the funds in the CWSRF and describing how those uses support the goals of the CWSRF.
EFC’s Intended Use Plan (IUP) provides information about how NY’s CWSRF works, the type of financial assistance available, the sources and uses of the CWSRF’s funds, and identifies the list of clean water infrastructure projects that are eligible for CWSRF financial assistance. The State issues a Final IUP annually after a public review and comment period.
In order to apply and receive for SRF financial assistance, all projects must be listed on the Annual list within the Intended Use Plan (IUP).
The first step in applying for CWSRF financial assistance is a Project Listing on the Intended Use Plan (IUP). Using EFC’s Project Listing and Update System (PLUS), applicants must submit initial project information, including contact information, a general description of the project’s scope, a budget, and a project schedule. EFC accepts new project listings on a continuous basis, but applicants must submit their project information through PLUS by May 1 to have their projects listed in the Draft IUP each year, and by the end of the public comment period for the Draft IUP to have their projects listed in the final IUP. Applicants may also upload documents such as engineering reports, consent orders, or project descriptions. EFC recommends that applicants submit all available project information at the time of the project listing to ensure that EFC determines the most accurate project score and ranking.
Each project seeking CWSRF financial assistance is scored using a project priority score system. Each project is categorized based on the applicant’s population, whether the applicant is experiencing economic hardship, and whether the applicant is a non-municipal entity. A project’s rank relative to other projects in its category determines the type of financial assistance available.
The IUP contains two lists of eligible projects:
- Multi-Year Project Priority List- Identifies all projects for which applicants have expressed an interest in receiving financial assistance. The Multi-Year list identifies projects alphabetically by applicant name and indicates whether a project is also included on the Annual List, which category it is in, and the project score.
- Annual Project Priority List- Identifies projects that EFC may provide financial assistance to in the IUP Period. For a project to be included on the Annual List, the applicant must also submit an approvable engineering report and a Smart Growth Assessment Form to EFC. A project may receive financial assistance in the IUP period only if it is on the Annual List.
EFC offers short-term financing for a period of up to five years to provide recipients with funding to design and initiate construction on SRF eligible projects. There are no fees associated with short-term financing and interest accrues only on balances drawn. Short-term financings can be used to pre-finance costs that will be reimbursed from proceeds from other sources of funding. However, only market rate financing can be used to pre-fund any awarded grants.
Types of short-term financings available from EFC include:
- Hardship Financing: Applicants that qualify for hardship financing may receive short-term interest-free financing. For information on EFC's hardship policy, including eligibility criteria and limitations, click here. Information regarding the Median Household Income (MHI) and Family Poverty Rate used by EFC in determining eligibility can be found here.
- Subsidized Financing: Applicants that do not qualify for hardship financing, but have a project on the annual list with a score above the subsidy line, may receive short-term subsidized financing. Projects would receive interest-free financing for 50% of the SRF eligible project costs and a short-term market rate financing for the remaining 50% of SRF eligible project costs.
- Market-Rate Financing: Applicants that do not qualify for hardship or subsidized financing may receive a low-cost short-term market-rate financing.
EFC offers long-term financing to recipients for SRF eligible projects. Long-term financings are generally available for terms of up to 30 years.
Types of long-term financing available from EFC include:
- Hardship Financing: Applicants that qualify for hardship financing may receive long-term interest-free financing.
- Long-Term Subsidized Financing: Applicants that do not qualify for hardship but have a project on the annual list with a score above the subsidy line may qualify for long-term subsidized financing. For Clean Water projects, financings are at AAA/aaa borrowing rates with a 50% subsidized interest rate.
- Long-Term Market Rate Financing: This type of financing may be available to support eligible projects that are on the annual list with a score below the subsidy line. Projects closed with a Long-Term Market-Rate financing will remain eligible for subsidized funding for up to 5 years from the long-term financing closing date, and those projects will remain on the Annual Project Priority List during that period.
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.