The additional money comes with some strings:
· About $7 million must be dedicated to “green” infrastructure projects that have significant water use efficiency or energy efficiency benefits or projects that use other innovative ways to protect the environment.
· About $10.5 million will be used for subsidies. This means some of the principal for low-interest loans won’t have to be repaid in disadvantaged and economically distressed communities. The subsidies also will be used for water system restructuring projects that involve a change of ownership.
· All borrowers must comply with federal prevailing wage requirements.
Washington’s loan program will accept new applications from February 1 through March 1. Applications that were received last fall are still considered valid and will be scored and ranked. Water systems that want to emphasize green aspects of their projects, which could enhance their chances of receiving a loan, are welcome to reapply.
“Everyone needs safe and reliable drinking water,” said Denise Clifford, director of the agency’s Office of Drinking Water. “We’re pleased to have more dollars to put to work in communities around the state. We’ll be able to do more to help water systems fix problems and ensure drinking water is safe at the tap.”
Revised program guidelines and new application forms are available at the Office of Drinking Water’s Web site (http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/dw/our_main_pages/dwsrf.htm).