The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (The Trust) was created in 1993 by the Massachusetts Legislature, Their goal was to aid communities by financing water infrastructure projects that protect the environment and public health and safety, enhance water quality, and promote economic development.
As of 2023, the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust has made an impact in nearly 300 communities by financing as much money as $8.25 billion in loans for different projects and infrastructure.
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An Overview of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust
The Trust’s primary mission is to provide financial assistance to communities working to improve their water quality. The Trust’s loans can be used to fund a wide range of projects, including:
- New or upgraded wastewater treatment facilities
- Replace water infrastructure
- Stormwater management systems
- Nonpoint source pollution abatement projects
- Drinking water infrastructure
- Brownfield remediation
Massachusetts Clean Water Trust State-Revolving Funds
The Trust operates two Massachusetts state-revolving funds (SRFs): the Clean Water SRF and the Drinking Water SRF. The Clean Water SRF provides loans for a variety of infrastructure projects. This includes wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater management systems, and nonpoint source pollution control projects.
The Drinking Water SRF provides loans for the construction and improvement of safe water to drink. Some of these projects include improvements to drinking water treatment processes, replacement of the lead service line, and overseeing improvements in the protection and sanitation of water sources and storage facilities.
Advantages of Borrowing through the Trust
There are a number of advantages to borrowing through the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. These advantages include:
- Low-interest rates: The Trust’s interest rates are significantly lower than the rates that are typically available from commercial lenders. These new low-interest loans lower the costs to complete projects.
- Long terms: The Trust’s loans have terms of up to 30 years, which can help communities spread out the cost of their projects over a longer period of time.
- Flexible terms: The Trust’s loan terms are flexible, which can help communities meet their specific financial needs.
- Technical assistance: The Trust provides technical assistance to communities that are applying for loans. This assistance can help communities develop their projects and prepare their loan applications.
- Various subsidy and grant programs: The Trust offers a number of grant and subsidy programs to help communities finance different projects to build and develop water infrastructure.
Grant and Subsidy Programs Offered by the Trust
In addition to its loan programs, the Trust also offers a number of grant and subsidy programs. These programs can help communities finance projects that may not qualify for a loan.
Asset Management Planning Grants
Asset Management Planning Grants can cover up to 60% of the costs or $150,000. Communities are able to fund the completion and improvement of their asset management plans for water management. With this, they can ensure the smooth and safe operation of these water utilities for resilient communities.
Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Trust Fund
The Cape Cod & Islands Water Protection Trust Fund is focused on helping Cape Cod communities to raise funding through the tourist economy. The revenue raised will go to the loan payment of a portion of the communities’ wastewater loan from the Trust.
Housing Choice Loan Program
The Housing Choice Initiative aims to expand housing production within communities. With a “Housing Choice” designation, communities are able to reduce interest rates from 2% to 0.50%. This helps communities build better infrastructure for families.
0% Nutrient Enrichment Reduction Loans
The enrichment of surface water resources and water supplies can cause harm to nearby bodies of water. The 0% Nutrient Enrichment Reduction Loans aim to remediate and prevent nutrient enrichment to address this environmental problem.
0% Interest PFAS Remediation Loans
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These substances are known contaminants of drinking water that can result in health issues and gravely impact public health. The Trust offers 0% interest loans for projects which aim to reduce the amount of PFAS contaminants in the water.
Lead Service Line Planning Grant Program
The Trust grants an allocation of $20 million for projects and plans that comply with Lead and Copper Rule Revisions. Public water suppliers part of completing these projects are eligible for this grant.
Income-Based Community Septic Management Program (CSMP) Loans
Communities offering reduced interest rate loans for homeowners based on their annual income are eligible for the 0% CMSP loan from the Trust.
Loan Forgiveness for Disadvantaged Communities
The Trust offers an additional subsidy to decrease the principal amount of a loan. This is based on your community’s tier in the annual affordability calculation. As of 2023, the percentage of forgiveness can range from 3.3% to 9.9% for Clean Water SRF Funding and 6.6% to 19.8% for Drinking Water SRF Funding.
The Agencies Behind the Trust
Massachusetts Clean Water Trust
The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (the Trust) is a state agency that improves water quality throughout the Commonwealth by providing low-interest loans and grants to municipalities, cities, and other eligible entities.
Their role is to administer the financial aspects of the program including managing loans, financing, and repayment.
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is a state agency that protects and enhances the environment of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MassDEP was created in 1971 by the Massachusetts Legislature and is responsible for enforcing environmental laws and regulations, providing technical assistance to businesses and communities, and conducting research on environmental issues.
State Revolving Fund Loan Process
The State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan process is the primary way that the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust provides financial assistance to communities. The SRF loan process is as follows:
- Contact the Trust to discuss your project and determine if you are eligible for a loan.
- Complete the Trust’s loan application form.
- Submit the loan application form and supporting documentation to the Trust.
- The Trust will review your application and make a decision on your loan.
- If the project is eligible for funding, the Trust negotiates a loan agreement with the community.
- The community receives the loan proceeds and begins construction on the project.
- The community repays the loan over a period of time.
Financing Water Infrastructure Projects
The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust is a valuable resource for communities and towns that are working to improve their water quality. The Trust’s low-interest loans and grant programs can help communities to afford the cost of water quality projects, and they can also help to protect the Commonwealth’s water resources.
If you are a community that is interested in learning more about the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, please visit the Trust’s website or contact the Trust at (617) 367-9333.