|NDEE’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Programs cross $1 billion threshold
LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) celebrated a major milestone this week that has been nearly 35 years in the making.
The department crossed the $1 billion threshold for funds administered through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund programs, commonly referred to as the SRF programs.
NDEE’s SRF programs provide below market interest loans, grants, and loan forgiveness to eligible Nebraska communities to help support the development of critical drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The Clean Water SRF became active in 1988, while the Drinking Water SRF began in 1997. NDEE administers both programs.
“The SRF programs are a tremendously valuable and versatile tool for communities in our state to address critical infrastructure needs,” NDEE Director Jim Macy said. “NDEE is proud to administer these programs that can help provide Nebraska communities an avenue to develop facilities that ensure reliable access to safe drinking water or initiate water or wastewater projects that spur growth and create new development.”
Benefits of the SRF programs can be observed in communities all across the state, but the City of Kearney, for example, has relied on the programs to facilitate completion of multiple, diverse projects, according to the city’s Finance Director Wendell Wessels.
“We’ve been working with the state on these type of loans for probably 20 years or more. We’ve used both the drinking water side and the clean water side,” Wessels said.
Wessels added that Kearney has relied on the SRF programs for a water tower, booster stations, and infrastructure extensions in all parts of Kearney. Currently, the city is working on a $34 million upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant.
“We were able to get a half-a-percent interest rate, which is saving the rate payers in Kearney thousands of dollars in interest and probably preventing rate increases that we might have had to adopt without this kind of program,” Wessels said.
“The department is proud to have reached this important milestone, and we’re excited for the future of the SRF program,” said Steve McNulty, NDEE environmental supervisor for the State Revolving Fund Section. “NDEE will continue to build productive partnerships with municipalities and public water systems to help build sustainable infrastructure, as clean and safe water is the cornerstone of Grow Nebraska.”
More information on State Revolving Loan Fund programs can be accessed on NDEE’s website at http://dee.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/CA.