Addressing Water System Resiliency with the
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
Communities may use the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to address resiliency
for their drinking water systems.
BACKGROUND
Drinking water resiliency refers to the ability of water
infrastructure systems to withstand and recover from
natural and man-made disturbances, Resilient
infrastructure systems are flexible, agile, and able to
recover after unanticipated disruption. There are
several ways DWSRF funding can be used to address
resilient infrastructure. While the information provided
below is not exhaustive, it will equip decision makers
with some best practices and implementable ideas for
how to incorporate resiliency into drinking water
project planning.
Incorporating resiliency into drinking water
infrastructure projects is not a new concept for water
systems. When planning new projects, it is standard
practice for water systems to perform analyses to
support well-informed decisions that lead to smart,
sustainable projects. Water systems can also be
forward-looking, since the lifespan of many types of
infrastructure can be 50 to 100 years.
For example, prior to funding a project, water systems
could assess the potential for changes in water
resources and population trends, as well as the
occurrence of man-made and natural hazards. This
type of assessment can help to ensure that the project
fulfills its mission over the design life. Resiliency should
be incorporated upfront in the planning and design of
every project.
Additional EPA Water Resiliency Resources:
Drinking Water Contaminant Human Health Effects
Information website:
https://www.epa .oov/sd wa/d ri n ki na -water-
contaminant-human-health-effects-information
Drinking Water and Wastewater Resilience website:
https://www.epa.aov/waterresilience
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EPA OGWDW | Addressing Water System Resiliency with the DWSRF
DWSRF ASSISTANCE
The DWSRF can provide financial assistance to
publicly-owned and privately-owned community water
systems and non-profit non-community water systems
for drinking water infrastructure projects. Projects
must either facilitate the system's compliance with
national primary drinking water regulations or
significantly further the health protection objectives of
the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
Each of the 50 states and Puerto Rico operates its own
DWSRF program. They receive annual capitalization
grants from EPA, which they use to provide low-
interest loans and other types of assistance to water
systems. Repayments of DWSRF loans begin up to 18
months after project completion, with loan terms up to
30 years for most communities, or up to 40 years for
disadvantaged communities.
Additionally, states may use a portion of their
capitalization grant from EPA as "set-asides" to help
communities build the technical, managerial, and
financial capacities of their systems. With an emphasis
on small systems, these funds help ensure sustainable
infrastructure and public health investments.
Infrastructure Improvements
DWSRF assistance can be used to construct resiliency-
related infrastructure improvements, including but not
limited to backup generators, physical flood barriers,
redundant equipment and infrastructure, telemetry
systems for remote operation, and saltwater-resistant
equipment. Existing facilities can be modified or
relocated (e.g., moving a treatment plant out of the
floodplain or deepening existing wells). Equipment can
be physically hardened against hazards by
waterproofing electrical components, sealing
structures to prevent floodwater penetration, and
adding wind-resistant features. Overall, capital projects
undertaken to incorporate new technologies and/or
upgrade infrastructure to enhance resiliency can be
funded by the DWSRF.
EPA 816-F-20-003 November 2020
Adaptation and Mitigation Planning
DWSRF assistance, either through the loan fund or
the set-asides, can be used for adaptation and
mitigation planning to address extreme weather
events such as droughts, floods, tornadoes, and
forest fires. Other examples include developing
integrated water resource management plans,
vulnerability assessments, and statewide extreme
weather models, as well as conducting water and
energy audits.
Risk and Resilience Assessments
The SDWA requires community water systems
serving more than 3,300 persons to conduct a risk
and resilience assessment of their water systems.
Following the completion of the assessment, water
systems must develop or update their emergency
response plans (ERPs). DWSRF set-asides may be
used to assist water systems with developing
assessments and ERPs. Eligible infrastructure
improvements identified by the assessments may
be funded through the loan fund. More information
on the SDWA risk and resilience assessment
requirements can be found at
https://www.epa.aov/waterresilience.
Training and Technical Assistance
States can use set-asides to provide technical
assistance and trainings for water utilities to bolster
their resilience. Assistance could be provided to
plan and adapt to extreme weather, prepare for
emergencies and disasters, set-up
Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks
(WARNs), and prepare for and participate in
tabletop or field exercises.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FUNDING
APPLY FOR FUNDING: Water systems receive
DWSRF assistance directly from state agencies.
Each state has its own application procedure.
Contact information for each state is posted at
https://www.epa.aov/dwsrf/statedwsrf-website-
and-contacts.
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Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
Case Studies: Residency in Action
How communities are using the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to address resiliency in
their drinking water systems.
TOBIAS, NE
In 2014, the Village of Tobias, Nebraska, hired a
consulting engineer to complete a preliminary
engineering report to evaluate the Village's water
system needs. Previously, the Village's public water
system consisted of a single municipal well, an
elevated 40,000-gallon water storage tower, and a
distribution system. The Village's primary well had
a capacity of 150 gallons per minute and was in
operable condition upon evaluation. However, static
water levels in the well had dropped nearly 10 feet,
which was likely due to the ongoing drought in the
area. The engineer recommended a new well to
establish a backup supply for the water system and
lowering the pump in the existing well to extend its
operational capacity. This project also included
adding valves and water meters, as well as
upgrading existing well controls. The Village, with
just over 100 people, utilized approximately
$315,000 in DWSRF assistance to complete this
project.
GOLD HILL, OR
The City of Goid Hill, Oregon, used DWSRF
assistance to hire a professional engineering firm
to complete a Seismic Risk Assessment and
Mitigation Plan. The City developed this plan to
meet a new state requirement for affected water
systems in earthquake zones. This plan included
the identification of critical water supply locations
and infrastructure, identification of potential
seismic geohazards, and a preliminary assessment
of facility risk. Additionally, the plan included an
evaluation of pipeline fragility, a seismic resilience
evaluation report section, and recommendations
for Capital Improvement Plan projects and/or
operational changes. This project is a best practice
example of how DWSRF assistance can be used to
evaluate long-term resiliency. The total project
assistance provided by the DWSRF was $20,000.
The project will benefit 1,254 people.
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EPA OGWDW | DWSRF Case Studies: Resiliency in Drinking Water
EPA 816-F-20-003 November 2020
BIG BEND, NV
Big Bend Water District (BBWD) in Nevada installed
a well, located adjacent to the Colorado River, on
property which currently houses the District's river
intake pumping system. This well was built to
employ riverbank filtration (RBF), a natural process
that removes various contaminants as the river
water is naturally filtered by the geologic material
and recharges groundwater.
Climate change has caused variable water quality in
the Colorado River in recent years. Specifically, the
BBWD has been operating close to the limits of the
Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts
Rule for trihalomethanes, as well as exceeding
turbidity limits of the Long-Term Enhanced Surface
Water Treatment Rule. This has caused the BBWD
to issue a boil water notice in the past. RBF will
provide long-term resiliency for the Big Bend Water
System by avoiding potential future water quality
crises. Approximately 9,000 people will be served by
this project. The total DWSRF assistance was
$500,000.
WALLKILL, NY
The Wallkill Consolidated Water District, New York,
serving 12,800 people, received DWSRF assistance
to install a supervisory, control, and data acquisition
(SCADA) wireless radio communications system for
all water facilities within the District. During
emergency situations, the SCADA system will
provide critical facility information to water system
operators, allowing for a faster response time and
remote automation. Additionally, this project funded
the installation of backup power supplies. The total
project assistance was approximately $3,000,000.
BATESVILLE, IN
In November 2019, the City of Batesville, Indiana,
received DWSRF assistance to develop an alternate
source of water that was not rainfall-dependent in
order to improve the security and resiliency of the
City's water supply. The Batesville Water Supply
Treatment and Water Transmission Main Project
included the construction of a new water supply well
field with three new wells, a new water softening
treatment plant including chemical feed components,
and all necessary site work. Additionally, 16 miles of
new raw water transmission mains were installed
from the wellfield to the water treatment plant. The
total project assistance was $18,770,000.
OAK BEACH, NY
The Oak Beach area of New York was without
electricity for 30 days due to Superstorm Sandy,
resulting in a loss of drinking water supply for three
privately-owned public water systems serving 120
people. This $1,200,000 mitigation project
consolidated these three water systems and built new
resilient infrastructure. The project included the
construction of a new water treatment plant, pump
station, storage tanks, and backup power source. It
also modified existing wells and upgraded the
distribution system including the installation of new
transmission mains, new distribution mains, and new
service lines. Critical components within this project
were elevated above flood level to prevent potential
damage during extreme weather events.
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For more information, visit: epa.gov/dwsrf
FLOOD
AREA.
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