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Environmental Loans

Clean Water & Drinking Water State Revolving Funds

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Funding

In Wisconsin, the BIL will provide over $700 million in additional funding during the next five years through the DNR’s Clean Water Fund and Safe Drinking Water Loan Programs.

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 $6.2 billion in financial assistance to municipalities since State Fiscal Year 1991 through two Environmental Improvement Fund (EIF) programs.

Under the Clean Water Fund Program and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, 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 (up to 30 years).
  • 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.

Pilot Projects Program

Pilot Projects Program provides a subsidy to municipalities seeking to fund 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.

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.

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. For more information, read:

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) and Priority Evaluation & 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 2024 funding (July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024), the ITA/PERF deadline is October 31, 2022.

    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:

Attention: Read our final policy paper on Procedural Changes for CWFP and SDWLP Applications. More information is available on the Statutes & Codes webpage.

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 2023 begins July 1, 2022, and ends June 30, 2023).

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 online submittal deadline for SDWLP for the upcoming state fiscal year funding cycle.
  • Loan closing deadline for prior year's SDWLP allocations. Attention: September 30, 2022, is the loan closing deadline for State Fiscal Year 2022 SDWLP projects (excludes Private LSL Replacement projects) as a result of 2021 Wisconsin Act 112.
Sept. 30
  • Financial Assistance Application online submittal 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
CWFP deadlines listed by type of activity.
CWFP ACTIVITY CWFP DEADLINE
Intent to Apply
  • Submitted online by October 31 for the following state fiscal year funding cycle.
Application
  • Accepted year-round for projects not seeking principal forgiveness (PF).
  • Submitted online by September 30 if requesting principal forgiveness (PF) for the current state fiscal year funding cycle.
  • Pilot Project application is a PDF and is currently not available to submit online.
Loan Closing
  • For both PF and non-PF CWFP projects, the loan must close within eight months following the date of the application acceptance notification. All PF applications are accepted by June 30 (the end of the state fiscal year). Non-PF applications are accepted by December 31 of the following state fiscal year.
Safe Drinking Water Loan Program
SDWLP deadlines listed by type of activity.
SDWLP ACTIVITY SDWLP DEADLINE
Intent to Apply
  • Submitted online by October 31 for the following state fiscal year funding cycle.
Application
Loan Closing
  • Sign Financial Assistance Agreement (FAA) by the June 30 following the calendar year in which funding was allocated. Attention: September 30, 2022, is the loan closing deadline for State Fiscal Year 2022 SDWLP projects (excludes Private LSL Replacement projects) as a result of 2021 Wisconsin Act 112.

Interest rates

What are the interest rates?

The CWFP and SDWLP provide subsidy to bring interest rates on loans down from the market rate established by Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) to the reduced interest rates described in the table shown below. For more information, read the Interest Rates webpage.

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
CWFP and SDWLP
For eligible projects of municipalities not meeting the financial need criteria.
55% 2.145% 2.255%
CWFP and SDWLP
For eligible projects of disadvantaged municipalities meeting the following financial need criteria:
  • < 10,000 population; and
  • ≤ 80% of Wisconsin's Median Household Income (MHI).
33% 1.287% 1.353%
CWFP
For eligible projects of extremely disadvantaged municipalities meeting the following financial need criteria:
  • < 1,000 population; and
  • ≤ 65% of Wisconsin's MHI.
0% 0% 0%
CWFP
For the portion of eligible projects for receiving and storing septage and capacity for treating septage, and non-traditional pilot projects, e.g., water quality trading.
0% 0% 0%
MARKET RATE (effective 10/01/2022) 100% 3.900% 4.100%

CWNS

Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Watersheds Needs Survey is a comprehensive assessment of capital investment needed to meet the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act. The EPA reports these needs periodically to Congress, which helps their budgeting efforts and determination of resources needed to improve water quality infrastructure. Fully capturing the extent of needs within the state will help position Wisconsin in obtaining future federal funds. The information collected is not intended for compliance or regulatory purposes.

  • The 2022 CWNS is open for data collection through February 28, 2023.

DNR will contact communities directly to collect:

  • Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs), Facility Plans, Preliminary Engineering Reports, etc., which describe planned wastewater, storm water, decentralized, or nonpoint source projects.
  • Documents should include projects that are eligible for funding through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and are planned within the next 20 years.

Please direct questions to DNRCleanWatershedsNeedsSurvey@Wisconsin.gov

Help

Program coordinators & specialists

Clean Water Fund Program contact: Lisa Bushby, CWFP Coordinator

Pilot Projects Program contact: Dave Calhoon, Pilot Projects Specialist

Private Lead Service Line Replacement Program contact: Kate Leja-Brennan, LSL Specialist

Safe Drinking Water Loan Program contact: Noah Balgooyen, SDWLP Coordinator

Contact information
For information on this topic, contact either Section Manager:
Matt Marcum or Becky Scott