Funding Disadvantaged Communities
with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean
Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program is the
largest public source of water quality financing in the
country. Since 1988, programs in all 50 states and Puerto
Rico have provided over $118 billion in funding for a
wide range of eligible projects. The funding flexibility
inherent to CWSRF programs allows states to address
their unique water quality priorities and reach
communities of all sizes.
EPA recognizes the financing challenges posed by
infrastructure needs are not the same everywhere; they
are most acute in small and disadvantaged communities.
These communities can face serious difficulties when it
comes to financing, operating, and maintaining
infrastructure assets. With a variety of funding
eligibilities, financing mechanisms, and other tools at
their disposal, CWSRF programs are ideally positioned to
provide relief to the communities that need it the most.
States use a variety of methods to provide assistance to
disadvantaged communities. They include, but are not
limited to:
Flexible Financing Terms
At its core the CWSRF is already a subsidy program due
to its favorable loan terms. One of the most significant
benefits states can offer potential assistance recipients is
low interest rates. Interest rates for CWSRF loans vary
between zero and market rate, and can provide
communities with significant cost savings over the life of
a loan. Loans can be repaid over a 30 year period or the
useful life of the project, whichever is less. Financing
flexibility allows states to tailor financing terms to a
prospective borrower's ability to pay.
Additional Subsidization
CWSRF programs have the authority to provide a portion
of their assistance as additional subsidization in the form
of principal forgiveness, negative interest rate loans, or
grants. Additional subsidization may only be used to help
address affordability issues or to implement a process,
material, technique, or technology that addresses water
or energy efficiency goals; mitigates stormwater runoff;
or encourages sustainable project planning, design, and
construction. The majority of state programs use
additional subsidization authority to assist disadvantaged
Technical Assistance
For communities that lack technical, financial, or
managerial capacity, states can sometimes offer
assistance to facilitate up-front planning. Additionally,
states are often able to assist potential assistance
recipients navigate the CWSRF application process.
Funding Partnerships
Communities with significant need can sometimes
leverage the advantages of multiple funding agencies
through partnerships. Numerous CWSRF programs
participate in multi-agency funding committees that
coordinate to provide communities with customized,
cost-effective solutions.
Those interested in learning more about CWSRF funding
opportunities should seek out the CWSRF program in
their state and participate in the annual process that
determines which projects are funded. The list of CWSRF
state programs can be found on our website at:

In 2014, the City of Hagerman, Idaho submitted a letter to
the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
indicating the desire to finance upgrades to their
wastewater treatment infrastructure, as well as purchase
100 acres for the beneficial reuse of wastewater effluent.
At a price tag of $10 million, Hagerman also needed to
determine how a population of less than 1,000 was going
to pay for the project. Even with low CWSRF interest
rates, monthly user fees would need to be raised to $115
to pay back a loan. Thanks to collaboration between the
engineering staff at DEQ and other federal and state
funding sources, Hagerman was able to reduce the cost
of the project to $7.8 million. DEQ provided Hagerman
with a $5 million loan and $1.2 million in principal
forgiveness, with the remaining infrastructure costs
covered by other funding agencies. This collaboration
between funding partners satisfied Hagerman's
infrastructure needs and maintained a manageable
monthly user fee of $57.
Hagerman Valley, Idaho
West Virginia
For years, septic tanks in Crown, West Virginia were in
desperate need of repair. The community's remote
location and rugged terrain made it cost prohibitive for to
be serviced by centralized treatment, necessitating an
onsite wastewater treatment solution. Due to economic
hardship the community was not in a position to pay for
critical infrastructure upgrades, but they found relief
through the CWSRF. Thanks to a $1.57 million grant from
the West Virginia Department of Environmental
Protection, along with additional funding from the
Monongalia County Commission, Crown was able to
address public health concerns by installing innovative
onsite wastewater collection and treatment systems. The
system collects waste in septic tanks and pumps
separated effluent through a network of pipes to 44
recirculating sand beds. There, the effluent is filtered into
the ground, instead of being discharged to nearby water
For more information about the CWSRF please contact
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Clean Water State Revolving Fund Branch
Office of Water, Office of Wastewater Management
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue , NW (mail code 4204M)
Washington, DC 20460
EPA 832F16013
JUNE 2016
Gravel beds for the filtration of wastewater effluent
us at: