As part of DEFA’s ongoing efforts to make the most of the limited principal forgiveness funding available every year through our SRF programs, additional focus will be placed on projects that are ready to proceed. The Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) and the Drinking Water Assistance Fund (DWAF) operate on a program-year (PY) basis with projects being nominated, scored, and ranked prior to being included on the Intended Projects List for the upcoming year’s Program Management Plan (PMP). Scoring focuses on human health aspects of the projects, but every year there are multiple principal forgiveness-eligible projects that score highly in each program. The challenge that the programs and communities face is getting the projects ready to construct in a single program year if little or no work has been done prior to the nomination. To help address this challenge, DEFA is implementing a multi-year process to set additional readiness-to-proceed requirements for projects to be considered for principal forgiveness.
The requirements will be implemented gradually over the next three to four program years. The goal is to have principal forgiveness projects far enough along in the process to get them awarded without a rush to get designs completed, permits approved, contracts advertised, bids reviewed, and loans awarded in the span of a few months.
The process was announced in the 2019 WPCLF PMP and the 2020 DWAF PMP. A flow chart showing the expected roll out of the requirements was included for each program. It was also announced that preference may be given to projects that are ready to proceed in that program year.
The goal of these new requirements is to allocate the limited principal forgiveness funding to projects that will be ready to proceed. We recognize a lot of work goes into getting an infrastructure project from concept to construction. Moving forward, most of that work should be completed prior to a project applicant requesting funding, instead of scrambling to get everything completed before the end of the program year.
A phased approach to implementing these requirements was selected to give communities advance notice of the future expectations, so they can begin work now to ensure their projects will be eligible and competitive for principal forgiveness in future program years.
For questions or more information, please contact Jon Bernstein at Jonathan.Bernstein@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3715 or Joe Dragovich at Joseph.Dragovich@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3710.
The requirements vary slightly between the two programs, but the main items that will be required in the future include:
- User Charge System in Place
- Facilities Planning Complete
- Design Underway
- Permit Applications Submitted
- Environmental Planning Addressed
- Contract Documents Approved