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Environmental Loans

Clean Water & Drinking Water State Revolving Funds

The purpose of the Environmental Loans Section is to administer affordable financial assistance to communities within Wisconsin for water infrastructure projects that protect and improve public health and water quality for current and future generations. Wisconsin provided over five billion dollars in financial assistance to municipalities since State Fiscal Year 1991 through two Environmental Improvement Fund (EIF) programs. View the financial assistance summary and annual reports.

Under the Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP), municipalities may receive financial assistance in the form of subsidized loans; additional subsidy to reduce the size of a loan; or a combination of assistance to keep project costs low. The programs can finance construction as it takes place; refinance interim debt used to design and construct a project; and reimburse municipal funds used for project costs.

Benefits and program features:

  • Program subsidy buys down the market rate on loans (reduced-interest rate loans).
  • Some municipalities may be eligible for further subsidy to reduce their loan size (principal forgiveness).
  • Fixed interest rates on long-term loans.
  • Coordination of funds with other funding sources.
  • Online submittal system for Intents to Apply and Financial Assistance Applications.
  • Dedicated DNR loan project manager and construction management engineer.

Funding programs

Clean Water Fund Program

The Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) provides financial assistance to municipalities for wastewater and storm water infrastructure projects. It includes projects for compliance with a municipality's WPDES permit.

Safe Drinking Water Loan Program

The Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) provides financial assistance to municipalities for drinking water infrastructure projects.

Lead Service Line Projects

Funding options for lead service line (LSL) replacements.

Pilot Projects Program

Pilot Projects Program provides a subsidy to municipalities seeking to fund adaptive management projects, water quality trading projects, and other non-traditional projects (i.e., projects not related to a wastewater treatment plant upgrade) for compliance with a municipality's WPDES permit.

Small Loans Program (SLP)

Small Loans Program (SLP) provides interest rate subsidy to municipalities for State Trust Fund (STF) loans from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) used to fund DNR-approved wastewater and storm water infrastructure projects (with total estimated project costs of $2,000,000 or less). Download the SLP summary and interest rates.

Other funding sources

The Wisconsin DNR Environmental Loans Section often partners with other funding agencies to ensure that municipalities get the best funding package to meet their needs. The DNR and other funding sources can collaborate to clarify the joint funding process and help with common paperwork challenges.

Eligibility

Who may apply?

Eligible applicants include Wisconsin cities, towns, villages, counties, sanitary districts and other qualifying municipalities.

How may funds be used?

The program funds are for reasonable and necessary costs directly related to the planning, design and construction of eligible projects. Funds may be used to construct, improve, modify, purchase, replace, restore and upgrade drinking water, wastewater and storm water systems and infrastructure; such as collection, conveyance, disposal, distribution, sourcing, storage, transmission and treatment. More information is found in the CWFP eligibility index and the SDWLP eligibility index.

The following are general guidelines helpful in determining whether an EIF loan would be appropriate for your project.

  • The municipal wastewater project is a necessity to stay in compliance with WPDES permits or to meet new permit requirements.
  • Projects constructing a new sewer system to eliminate groundwater pollution and threats to public health.
  • Projects that correct public water systems that violate health standards, have contamination, are not in compliance with drinking water standards or have inadequate transmission pipes and/or storage facilities.

How to Apply

How do we apply?

Follow these steps in order to apply for funding:

  1. Identify and define the wastewater treatment or drinking water "problem" that needs to be corrected or prevented. This process generally involves a joint effort of the municipality, a consulting engineer, and the DNR engineer in your area.
     
  2. Pre-Application - A notice of Intent to Apply (ITA) & a Priority Evaluation and Ranking Formula (PERF) must be submitted online for each project for which you will be seeking an EIF loan. The deadline for all ITAs/PERFs is October 31 for the following state fiscal year (SFY) funding cycle. For example, if you wish to apply for SFY 2022 funding (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022), the ITA/PERF deadline is October 31, 2020.

    When your project score is finalized by the DNR, you will receive an email notification. Eligible projects will be placed on the Project Priority List (PPL) in priority score order.

    ITAs/PERFs are only valid for one state fiscal year. If you do not go forward with submitting an application, be sure to re-submit an ITA/PERF for the following state fiscal year, if you are still pursuing funding from the EIF.
     
  3. Application - Once your project is on the Project Priority List (PPL), you may apply for funding for that state fiscal year. Refer to the documents below for more information on the application.

    Next steps for applicants after PPL is published: Application Process and Contents:

Deadlines

Deadlines & due dates

The state fiscal year begins on the first day of July in each year and closes on the next following June 30 (e.g., SFY 2021 begins July 1, 2020, and ends June 30, 2021).

Note: When a deadline falls on a weekend, that deadline, by statute, is extended to Monday.

Visual aids for deadlines, due dates, and timelines:

Listed by deadline date

CWFP & SDWLP deadlines listed by date.
DEADLINE PROGRAM ACTIVITY
June 30
  • Financial Assistance Application postmark deadline for SDWLP for the upcoming state fiscal year funding cycle.
  • Loan closing deadline for prior year's SDWLP allocations.
Sept. 30
  • Financial Assistance Application postmark deadline for CWFP if requesting principal forgiveness (PF) for the current state fiscal year funding cycle.
Oct. 31
  • Notice of Intent to Apply (ITA) online submittal deadline for both the CWFP & the SDWLP for the following state fiscal year funding cycle.

Listed by program and type of activity

Clean Water Fund Program (including Small Loans Program)
CWFP deadlines listed by type of activity.
CWFP ACTIVITY CWFP DEADLINE
Intent to Apply
  • Submitted online by Oct. 31 for the following state fiscal year funding cycle.
Application
  • Accepted year-round for projects not seeking principal forgiveness (PF).
  • Postmarked by Sept. 30 if requesting principal forgiveness (PF) for the current state fiscal year funding cycle.
Loan Closing
  • For both PF and non-PF CWFP projects, sign Financial Assistance Agreement (FAA) within eight months following the date of the application acceptance notification, which is sent by the end of the state fiscal year for which the ITA is valid (i.e., sent by June 30, 2018, for projects with valid SFY 18 ITAs).
SLP Loan Closing
  • Sign Interest Rate Subsidy Agreement (IRSA) within eight months following the date of the application acceptance notification, which is sent by the end of the state fiscal year for which the ITA is valid (i.e., sent by June 30, 2018, for projects with valid SFY 18 ITAs).
Safe Drinking Water Loan Program
SDWLP deadlines listed by type of activity.
SDWLP ACTIVITY SDWLP DEADLINE
Intent to Apply
  • Submitted online by Oct. 31 for the following state fiscal year funding cycle.
Application
  • Postmarked by June 30 for the upcoming state fiscal year funding cycle.
Loan Closing
  • Sign Financial Assistance Agreement (FAA) by the June 30 following the calendar year in which funding was allocated.

Interest rates

What are the interest rates?

On October 1, 2020, the market rate for loans up to and equal to 20 years fell from 3.20% to 3.00% and the market rate for loans exceeding 20 years fell from 3.40% to 3.20%. Each loan charges interest based on the market rate in effect on the day the municipal governing body adopts the resolution approving the financing agreement.

This table shows determination of the loan interest rate by project type, based on the current market rate.
PROJECT TYPE % of MARKET RATE ≤ 20 yr term 21-30 yr term
Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP)
For the portion of eligible projects for receiving and storing septage, and capacity for treating septage; as well as for mercury remediation at wastewater treatment facilities.
0% 0% 0%
CWFP
For eligible projects of extremely disadvantaged municipalities meeting the following financial need criteria:
  • < 1,000 population; and
  • ≤ 65% of Wisconsin Median Household Income (MHI).
0% 0% 0%
CWFP and Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP)
For eligible projects of disadvantaged municipalities meeting the following financial need criteria:
  • < 10,000 population; and
  • ≤ 80% of Wisconsin Median Household Income (MHI).
33% 0.990% 1.056%
CWFP and SDWLP
For eligible projects of municipalities not meeting the financial need criteria.
55% 1.650% 1.760%
MARKET RATE (effective 10/01/2020 thru 12/31/2020) 100% 3.000% 3.200%

Help

Program coordinators & specialists

Clean Water Fund Program contact: CWFP coordinator

Pilot Projects Program contact: Pilot projects specialist

Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement Program contact: LSL specialist

Safe Drinking Water Loan Program contact: SDWLP coordinator

Small Loans Program contact: SLP specialist

Contact information
For information on this topic, contact:
Section chief

Disclaimer of guidance: This document is intended solely as guidance and does not contain any mandatory requirements except where requirements found in statute or administrative rule are referenced. Any regulatory decisions made by the Department of Natural Resources in any matter addressed by this guidance will be made by applying the governing statutes and administrative rules to the relevant facts. Program implementation details are outlined in the governing administrative codes and statutes: §§ 281.58 and 281.59 and 281.61, Wis. Stat., and chs. NR 162 and 166, Wis. Adm. Code.