Clean Water State Revolving Fund

Background
Antiquated wastewater systems spill tens of billions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into the Great Lakes every year, closing beaches, threatening public health, and undermining the quality of life for the millions of people who call the region home. These spills – called sewer overflows – have a clear economic and environmental impact on the lakes’ ecosystem and communities. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, or CWSRF, was put in place in 1987 to help communities fund the high cost of important sewage infrastructure improvements to stop sewage from polluting the Great Lakes. You can view the history of Clean Water SRF in your state here.

Federal funding in billions of dollars for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund since 2001. Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House.

Federal funding in billions of dollars for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund since 2001. Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the White House.

What does the Clean Water State Revolving Fund do?

  • The CWSRF provides low-interest loans and flexible financing options to help local governments pay for critical wastewater management projects.
  • CWSRF is a flexible program allowing communities to invest in both traditional infrastructure and green infrastructure.

    A breakdown of federal funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund between Great Lakes states and the rest of the United States. Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    A breakdown of federal funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund between Great Lakes states and the rest of the United States. Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • CWSRF funds help sustain themselves. The money that is loaned out to communities is paid back, along with interest, to further fund the CWSRF. The revolving need for infrastructure upgrades benefits from the self-funded program.
  • States contribute 20 cents to every federal dollar appropriated.
  • Thanks to the revolving nature of the program, the federal government has only had to contribute about 40% of the more than $89.5 billion provided by the program since 1987.

 

Why is the Clean Water State Revolving Fund important?

  • Everyone can benefit from the CWSRF through cleaner waters for drinking, swimming, and fishing.
  • U.S. EPA predicts $338 billion in upgrades are needed nation-wide over the next 20 years.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers in 2013 gave America’s wastewater infrastructure a grade of “D.” The need for repairs is urgent. In some cases, Great Lakes communities are still using 100-year-old waste-water treatment infrastructure.
  • Sewer upgrade projects are costly, and local governments often struggle to finance them. Increased CWSRF funding is vital to help communities address this important issue.

 

Successes from 2013
Around the region, the CWSRF has helped communities improve their wastewater infrastructure, ensuring access to clean water and keeping pollution out of the Great Lakes.

Two kids enjoy playing in Lake Michigan on a summer day. Photo from Flickr/Daniel Marchese.

Two kids enjoy playing in Lake Michigan on a summer day. Photo from Flickr/Daniel Marchese.

  • In Wisconsin: Caledonia, a coastal community with sewer overflow problems, received $1.3 million for sewer system upgrades.
  • In the community of Evanston, Illinois—a long-time participant in the CWSRF program—received $1.4 million to rehabilitate their sewer overflow system.
  • Crown Point, Indiana received $1.5 million in continued investment in its Long-Term Control Plan, which sets the next steps for addressing the community’s sewer overflow problems.
  • Newberry, a community in Michigan that was denied a loan in 2012 due to a lack of federal funding for the CWSRF, received $3.5 million to upgrade wastewater treatment plant.
  • In Ohio, Toledo received $80 million to reduce sewer overflows into Lake Erie through grey and green infrastructure.

 

Comments are closed.