Continuing Planning Process
Element 8 - Inventory of Identified Public Wastewater Works Construction Needs
The department maintains an inventory of identified public wastewater works construction needs. A “need” is a cost estimate for a project that resolves a water quality or a public health problem and is eligible for Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans. Every four years, detailed information on the needs is provided to EPA. After compiling and summarizing the information, EPA issues The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey Report to Congress. The most recent report was published in 2008. The report serves to document and assess the need for publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities, correction of combined sewer overflows and management of storm water nonpoint source pollution in the United States. The report includes EPA’s detailed estimates of capital costs (needs) eligible for funding under the State Revolving Fund provisions of the Clean Water Act amendments of 1987. The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey is a joint effort of the states and EPA to meet the requirements of sections 205(a) and 516(b) of the Clean Water Act.
Section 205(a) requires that states receive funds in proportion to the ratio that the estimated cost for all needed publicly owned treatment works in each state bears to the estimated cost of construction for all such treatment works in all of the states. Section 516(b) requires the EPA to report to Congress detailed estimates of the costs of carrying out the act, including the costs for treating effluent nationally. EPA’s Clean Watersheds Needs Survey provides detailed estimates of the treatment needs by facility for the next 20 years.
Status of the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure and Funding
The most recent needs survey, along with more recent information, indicate:
- The total needs estimate for Missouri far exceeds the available SRF loan funding.
- The SRF loan program is making progress towards meeting the massive needs, but would need to be significantly accelerated in order to meet the needs in a timely manner.
- Each year, requests for funding exceed the amount of funds available.
- Most recipients finance system improvements through a combination of voter approved bond indebtedness and user charges. They are limited by what their communities and users can afford in the current economic conditions.
- Any increase in Clean Water Act initiatives, enforcement or regulatory requirements, significantly increase the needs in Missouri. This results in widening the chasm between total funding needs and total available funding.
The Clean Water Commission, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority are cooperating to maximize the amount of construction that can be supported by the CWSRF. Through the combined efforts of these agencies, Missouri can be expected to achieve approximately $1.43 of construction for each $1 of available EPA and state matching funds at this point in time. This cooperative program to increase the amount of construction is referred to as the State Revolving Fund Cash Flow Model Loan Program.
The department continues to work with the SRF finance team to refine the program structure, and will continue to evaluate possible future program structures to ensure the program provides a stable source of funding for clean water infrastructure projects well into the future.
Process of Inventory and Ranking
Missouri’s process for inventory and ranking of public wastewater treatment works construction needs has been in use since the late 1970s. In 1987, the U.S. Congress enacted the federal Clean Water Act amendments that phased out construction grants and authorized the establishment of state revolving loan programs. Missouri uses federal funding programs to help communities that identify themselves through the application process for funding of their wastewater treatment construction works. The state inventory and ranking process is continuously modified to be consistent with the requirements of the Clean Water Act and federal regulations.
The department solicits applications for the SRF program throughout each year. State regulation establishes Nov. 15 as the annual submittal deadline for applications to participate in the programs during the following fiscal year. However, applications will be accepted and processed at any time. The regulation also establishes that applications are valid for two IUP cycles or “years.” Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the department prior to submitting an application.
The department maintains an ongoing list of potential projects for use of available loan funds. Applications received are prioritized as mentioned above. As projects proceed towards funding, they are placed on the funding lists based upon their priority points, their progress towards meeting funding eligibility criteria, and the availability of adequate monies. Staff closely monitor each applicant’s progress towards funding eligibility and may shift projects between the lists.
A Clean Water SRF project’s readiness to proceed is based upon two criteria; an acceptable debt instrument and the submittal of a complete facility plan. Acceptable debt instruments include, but are not limited to, general obligation bonds and revenue bonds.
Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plan
The department is given authority by the state legislature to administer several state grant and loan programs. Each year Missouri prepares the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plan, commonly referred to as the Intended Use Plan or IUP.
The IUP distributes Missouri’s anticipated SRF Capitalization Grants, matching state funds and loan repayments as loans for the upcoming fiscal year. It contains information regarding the development and management of the SRF priority lists for the SRF Direct Loan and Nonpoint Source Loan Program.
The IUP also contains information regarding assurances mandated by the federal government. One of assurances requires public review and participation in the process of formulating and approving the IUP. The department’s public participation efforts include a broad notification and distribution of the draft IUP including a request for review and comments, as well as an invitation to the public hearing. The hearing is conducted to give interested parties the opportunity to interact with staff and provide their input both verbally and in a written format.
The IUP is finalized in September of each year for implementation in the fiscal year which begins in October.