Necessary repairs and other important maintenance projects can be expensive. Planning for and fully updating or expanding treatment capacity can cost millions of dollars - money that Missouri communities often don’t have.
Through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Financial Assistance Center, a variety of financial assistance options are available to help eligible communities make crucial repairs and upgrades to their water treatment systems that they otherwise couldn’t afford. The department provides financial assistance opportunities to applicants for projects including drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and a variety of other water quality improvements and is dedicated to helping communities plan, finance and build projects that improve the lives of Missourians.
The State Revolving Fund
State Revolving Fund programs, established in the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, provide states with a mechanism to offer low-cost financing for a wide range of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Managed by the Financial Assistance Center, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides funding for wastewater treatment, sewer rehabilitation and stormwater improvements. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund provides assistance for drinking water treatment and distribution, water storage facilities, wells and interconnection or consolidation between systems.
In addition to the State Revolving Fund, the Financial Assistance Center also offers grants to assist small communities with funding for engineering reports necessary for infrastructure projects and a state Small Borrower Loan Program for qualified communities that need help financing small projects.
One of many success stories
Located just north of Cape Girardeau in Perry County, Perryville’s Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed in 1976 and receives residential, commercial and pretreated industrial wastewater. The city needed to expand the treatment plant to add capacity for the growing community and to improve the quality of the treated effluent discharging to the nearby Cinque Homes Creek. In September 2020, the city completed the application process for a Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan and closed on its financial assistance package a year later.
The city was awarded a low-interest loan totaling $26 million at an interest rate of 0.76% and a $1 million Clean Water State Revolving Fund Water Quality Incentive Grant to complete the planned facility upgrades. This funding will save Perryville’s wastewater customers an estimated $1 million in principal and approximately $5.9 million in interest over the loan’s 20-year term. Financial assistance made the project more affordable for the city’s ratepayers.
“We were in a critical juncture when Perryville voters approved our bond issue for a new sewer plant,” said Brent Buerck, Perryville’s city administrator. “Our plant was approaching 40 years of age, and we knew it was no longer keeping up with the environmental regulations and requirements, not to mention being a maintenance nightmare. We reached out to the Financial Assistance Center early and often, since we anticipated being Missouri’s first design-build plant under the newly passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“Working in close partnership with the Financial Assistance Center, we successfully navigated this new construction process. We were both surprised and thrilled when several staff made a trip all the way from Jefferson City for our groundbreaking, and we can’t wait to bring them back for a ribbon cutting when the plant is finished.”
The upgrades include new headwork screens and grit removal systems, a new oxidation ditch for biological treatment, clarifiers, tertiary disc filters, ultraviolet disinfection and other necessary components. They will increase the plant’s design flow from 1.8 to 2.5 million gallons per day. Additionally, the plant will be able to provide more effective treatment for nutrients and enhanced protection of the environment, all of which is certain to improve local water quality as well as the quality of life for the citizens of Perryville. The plant is expected to be online in summer 2023.
Learn more about financial opportunities on the Financial Assistance Center webpage.