Frequently Asked Questions

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General Information

The Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) assists communities throughout New York State to undertake critical water quality infrastructure projects by providing access to low-cost capital and grants, primarily through the State Revolving Funds. EFC also offers expert technical assistance, such as application review and assistance; legal, engineering, and financial expertise; individual project consultations; and onsite visits.

State Revolving Funds (SRFs) were authorized by Congress to allow states to provide low-cost financial assistance for water quality related infrastructure projects. Each state manages its own revolving funds. As recipients make repayments (of principal plus interest), the principal returns to the revolving fund to be used to make new loans to other recipients. Over time, each fund grows as new financings are made and repayments are returned to the fund.

The SRF financial assistance programs include the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The CWSRF provides financial assistance to communities to fund wastewater projects, and the DWSRF provides financial assistance to communities for public drinking water projects.

EFC financings can provide cost savings in the form of lower interest rates and reduced issuance costs, and administrative ease for borrowers. Additionally, EFC offers technical project assistance that may not be available from other financial institutions.

In general, EFC financial assistance is available to municipalities in New York State for the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects that protect or improve water quality or public health. The most common types of projects are municipally owned wastewater treatment plants and the associated sewer collection system, and public drinking water systems.

Generally, eligible municipalities are any county, city, town, village, district corporation, county or town improvement 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, 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. In addition, a school district is an eligible municipal entity for DWSRF financing only.

The State is required to prepare annual plans identifying the intended uses of the funds in the SRFs and describing how those uses support the goals of the SRFs. To meet that requirement, the State prepares Intended Use Plans (IUP) annually and publishes draft plans for public review and comment. The IUPs are divided into major topics to provide fundamental information to readers about which projects are eligible for SRF financing, how the SRF works, the types of financial assistance available through the SRF, and the sources and uses of each SRF’s funds. 

The Multi-Year List identifies all projects for which applicants have expressed an interest in receiving SRF financial assistance. The Annual List is a subset of the Multi-Year List, and includes those projects for which certain information has been submitted to EFC, including an engineering report. Only projects on the Annual List are eligible to receive financial assistance during the current federal fiscal year.

Projects are scored using a project priority score system. In general, CWSRF projects that improve and restore water quality generally receive the highest scores with projects that protect water quality given secondary priority. DWSRF projects that address the most serious risk to public health are given the highest priority, particularly those related to microbiological organisms, followed by situations that pose chronic and longer-term risks to consumers, such as organic chemical contamination. The scoring criteria also consider factors such as population and financial hardship.

Financial Assistance Options

There are several different types of financings available to CWSRF and DWSRF 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.

EFC has the ability to provide short-term financing to a municipality (typically for a period of three to five years) to finance the estimated costs of the planning, design, and construction of a water or wastewater project. With short-term financing, municipalities are able to draw funds as they incur costs for the project. Long-term financing is available when a project is substantially complete or the municipality has executed all of the major construction contracts and the final costs of the project are known with a reasonable degree of certainty. Long-term financings can be for a period of up to 30 years.

Yes. Recipients that have not yet completed construction on their project may initially close a short-term financing with EFC. Once the project is substantially complete, EFC can convert the short-term financing to a long-term financing.

In general, EFC financing can be used for costs associated with project planning, design, and construction services as long as those costs can reasonably be expected to result in a completed infrastructure improvement project.

Yes. EFC can reimburse for costs already incurred or paid for an engineering report, provided the applicant submits the engineering report, and the engineering services agreement contains certain contractual language.

Yes. EFC may commit financing to a large project in phases or segments over several years. With any phased project, all phases must be defined within one engineering report and the environmental review must address all phases of the project.

Yes. EFC is able to finance projects that may have funding from other sources. These other sources may include (but are not limited to) the United State Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD), New York State Housing and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Department of State (DOS), and the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC).

The interest rate for particular financings will depend on where the project score is ranked on the IUP Annual List. The Annual List includes a subsidy line and a hardship subsidy line. Generally, projects listed above the subsidy funding lines can qualify for subsidized interested rate financing, and projects above the hardship subsidy lines can qualify for no interest hardship financing, within the current IUP financing period (i.e., current federal fiscal year). Projects below the subsidy lines are not eligible for subsidized financing during the current IUP period, but may receive market rate financing.

Hardship financing is interest free. Subsidized interest rate financing includes a subsidy that offsets part of the interest cost. Market rate financing rates are set at competitive market interest rates.

Interest free financing is offered to communities that are experiencing economic hardship, and eligibility is based on several factors including the size of the community, the Median Household Income (MHI) and the Poverty Rate. More details about the CWSRF Hardship Policy and the DWSRF Hardship Policy can be found on EFC’s website.

Yes. EFC offers several grant opportunities under different programs. See the grant programs section of this FAQ for an overview, or go to the Grant Programs tab on EFC’s website for more detailed information.

Getting Started

The first step to apply for SRF financing is to get your project listed on the Intended Use Plan (IUP). CWSRF listing forms are submitted through EFC’s Project Listing and Update System (PLUS), and DWSRF listing forms are submitted to the New York State Department of Health. EFC accepts new project listings on a continuous basis, but applicants must submit their project information by May 1 to have a project listed in the Draft IUP each year, and by the end of the public comment period for the Draft IUP to have a project listed in the Final IUP. EFC includes projects on the Multi-Year List based on the submission of this initial information. For a project to be included on the Annual List (i.e., eligible to receive funding during the current federal fiscal year), the applicant must also submit an approved engineering report and a Smart Growth Assessment Form.

An engineering report is a document that comprehensively describes a water quality or public health related problem, assesses alternatives for addressing and resolving the problem, including the "no action" alternative. It further recommends a solution, and details the costs and implementation schedule for that solution. Engineering reports are prepared pursuant to an engineering agreement by a professional engineer licensed and registered to practice in New York State.  The engineering report must conform to the CWSRF outline or the DWSRF outline available on EFC’s website. EFC will not require previously submitted reports to be rewritten, but an amendment may be required to address all items included in these documents.

EFC offers grants to certain municipalities for the preparation of engineering reports for CWSRF water quality projects through the Engineering Planning Grant (EPG) program. For further information on this program, see the 'Other Grant Programs' section of this FAQ for an overview, or for more detailed information, please visit the EPG Program tab on EFC’s website.

All projects that receive financial assistance from EFC are reviewed to determine if the project was developed in accordance with smart growth criteria. Projects that are consistent with smart growth criteria promote sustainability by strengthening existing and creating new communities which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do not compromise the needs of future generations. These projects should be built to mitigate future physical climate risk due to sea level rise, storm surges and flooding. The Smart Growth Assessment Form gathers certain information to allow EFC to determine if the project is consistent with smart growth criteria. The form must be submitted when a project is listed, or with the financial assistance application packet.

Once a project is on the Annual List of the IUP, the prospective applicant must submit a complete financial assistance application packet. This includes a completed application form, and all required supporting documents including the engineering report; Smart Growth Assessment form; documentation of required environmental reviews; a New York State Historic Preservation Office review; bond resolution; improvement district documentation (if applicable); and a project budget and plan of finance. EFC recommends that applicants for financial assistance contact EFC as early as possible in the application preparation process to ensure the proper documents are submitted and forms are completed properly.

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. SEQR requires that the municipality identify and mitigate any significant environmental impacts of the proposed project. The applicant must submit to EFC: i) documentation stating that the project is a Type II Action and reasons why; ii) a Negative Declaration if the project is determined not to have a significant adverse environmental impact, or iii) a Short or Full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF). Detailed information on SEQR may be found on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website.

Applicants seeking EFC financial assistance also must comply with the applicable requirements of the federal State Environmental Review Process (SERP), which may be more stringent than the requirements under SEQR. To comply with SERP, unless the project is a Type II Action exempt from SEQR, it must be treated as a Type I Action. A Type I Action under SEQR involves preparation of a Full EAF, coordinated review with all other agencies involved with the project and publication of the determination of environmental significance in the Environmental Notice Bulletin, and an Environmental Impact Statement and Statement of Findings, if applicable. An additional requirement of SERP is that each applicant must undertake and complete a New York State Historic Preservation Office review of the project.

Section 14.09 of the New York State Historic Preservation Act requires that all publicly funded projects be reviewed for potential impacts on historical properties and cultural resources. Section 106 of the National Historical Preservation Act of 1966 requires a more stringent review if any federal funding or permits are involved in the project. New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, is responsible for ensuring that the effects or impacts of a project on New York’s cultural or historical resources are considered and avoided or mitigated during the project planning process.

Each applicant for financial assistance from EFC is required to consult with SHPO and obtain a letter from SHPO stating that the review is complete and based upon its review, it is SHPO’s opinion that the project will have “No Effect” upon cultural resources in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places; or that SHPO has “No Objection” to the applicant proceeding with the planning of the project, subject to SHPO’s final approval and the applicant’s compliance with any conditions of SHPO’s approval.

All applicants seeking EFC financial assistance are required to adopt a bond resolution. A bond resolution is a resolution of the governing body of a municipality that establishes the municipality’s legal authority to issue debit for a specific project. The form, content, and procedures for adopting a bond resolution are prescribed by New York State Local Finance Law. An applicant seeking EFC financial assistance should consult with a bond counsel for assistance in drafting and adopting a valid bond resolution.

Projects that involve town or county special improvement districts may require Office of State Comptroller (OSC) approval prior to the municipality incurring certain debt. If a sewer or water district must be established or expanded, or the maximum amount to be expended for such district increased, OSC approval must be obtained prior to applying for EFC financing. Please refer to OSC’s website for more information.

The project budget should identify all known and estimated costs that are projected to be incurred during the planning, design, and construction of the project. This includes costs for professional services such as legal counsel, financial advisor services, and other consultants. Actual executed contract or agreement amounts should be used when available. The budget should also include a plan of finance that identifies all sources of money expected to fund the total cost of the project. This includes the estimated amount of EFC financial assistance and any additional sources of moneys which will pay for the project, including all grants and loans from EFC, any third party, and any municipal or other contributions.

Federal and State Regulatory Requirements

Yes. Pursuant to the federal Davis-Bacon and related acts, all laborers and mechanics performing work pursuant to a construction contract or subcontract greater than $2,000 for a DWSRF project or CWSRF treatment works project must be paid wages equal to or greater than the federal prevailing wage rates applicable to the project. In addition, if CWSRF or DWSRF financial assistance is used to fund all or a part of the construction, alteration, maintenance or repair of a public water system or treatment works, the SRF recipient must use certain iron and steel products that are produced in the United States for the whole project (American Iron and Steel).

EFC is committed to promoting participation opportunities for New York 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 contracts that receive financial assistance through EFC's various programs. As such, EFC requires all contractors and subcontractors working on projects receiving EFC financial assistance to comply with State Executive Law Article 15-A, Title 5 NYCRR Parts 140-145, and Title 40 CFR Part 33, as applicable. EFC also requires all contractors and subcontractors working on projects receiving EFC financial assistance to comply with State and federal non-discriminatory provisions.

EFC has established program-specific MWBE participation goals, ranging from 20-30%. Further information on MWBE/DBE/EEO requirements, including program specific MWBE participation goals can be found here.

EFC is committed to promoting participation opportunities for New York State certified service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises (SDVOBs) in the performance of contracts that receive New York State financial assistance through EFC’s various programs. As such, EFC requires all contractors and subcontractors working on projects receiving State financial assistance to comply with State Executive Law Article 17-B and 9 NYCRR Part 252. EFC further encourages all contractors and subcontractors working on projects receiving federal financial assistance to utilize SDVOBs on their contracts/subcontracts. In order to encourage and support certified SDVOBs to play a greater role in the State’s economy by increasing their participation in the State’s contracting opportunities, EFC has established a 6% SDVOB participation goal.

Technical Assistance

EFC’s Community Assistance Program (CAP) unit helps communities throughout the State navigate the various requirements needed to plan and design water quality infrastructure projects. The goal of CAP is to provide direct, one-on-one technical assistance to ensure that projects are able to move forward effectively at no additional cost to the community. The program can help community leaders understand application requirements and the types of financial assistance available. CAP staff are able to assist with the various regulatory and permitting efforts necessary for projects and environmental reviews, as well as serve as a point of contact to answer any questions the community may have during project development. Staff are located in offices in various areas of the State.

For more information, please contact: 

Clean Water SRF

Dwight Brown
SRF Program Services Coordinator
Environmental Facilities Corporation
(518) 402-6924

Drinking Water SRF

David Phillips, P.E.
Chief, Design Section
Bureau of Water Supply Protection
NYS Department of Health
(518) 402-7650 or 1-800-458-1158