Funds to get water-wastewater projects rolling

Posted in: Infrastructure, Water

A small disadvantaged community in Colorado that created a successful project with USDA grant/loans funds.
A small disadvantaged community in Colorado that created a successful project with USDA grant and loan funds.

If you oversee a small community, you may have challenges obtaining funding for your water and sewer projects. Limited resources and staff further hamper navigating the funding maze. In most cases, there are a myriad of soft costs that may hit well before a construction loan can be secured.

Costs could include engineering, permitting, surveying, geotechnical and legal services, to name a few. Fortunately, there a few choices at the federal, state and local levels with planning grants available.

Several agencies, including USDA Rural Development, offer planning grants for those communities designated as disadvantaged. Unsure if you are disadvantaged or disagree with the census results? The Rural Community Assistance Corporation will assist your community with completion of an income survey to see if you qualify. In addition to CDBG and the state Revolving Fund, grants may also be available at the county level. Be sure to check with your county public works director (or me).

Many states offer online summaries of water-wastewater grants and loans. Here is an example of the summary for the State of Washington’s drinking water and wastewater project grant and loans.

The key to success is first getting your hands wrapped around eligibility and which funding mechanism is best suited for your project. Once those are established, you can begin mapping out your timeline to meet any application deadlines.

Shannon Saramaa

About the Author

Shannon Saramaa, P.E., is a member of Mead & Hunt’s water and wastewater team. A true entrepreneur with innovation in her heart, Shannon founded a municipal water and wastewater consulting firm that continues to serve numerous Colorado utility districts, cities, institutions and other water and wastewater providers. Shannon now goes forward in the same spirit as a member of Mead & Hunt.

Read more posts by Shannon Saramaa

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