The DWSRF Planning loan program provides 0% interest loans to public water systems seeking to conduct preliminary and final design engineering. This preliminary engineering can run the gamut from source exploration to feasibility studies for water system acquisition to preliminary and final design of a construction project. One of the most attractive aspects of the planning loan program is the loans accrue no interest and require no payments on the loan until the project goes to construction; if construction does not occur, payment of the loan occurs over a five year period. For some municipalities, there may be an opportunity to receive principal loan forgiveness. Forgiveness criteria is updated regularly and outlined in Guidance Document #22.
Planning loans are awarded for source exploration, income surveys, feasibility studies, preliminary engineering reports, and final engineering plans and specifications for water system improvement projects needed to comply with state and federal standards and to protect public health. Nearly all water system improvement projects are eligible (new construction, renovation or replacement, or consolidation of systems). Costs incurred prior to a commitment of loan funds by DEC are not eligible for a loan.
Planning loans are available for the following systems:
- Municipalities exploring new or take over of existing drinking water facilities
- Municipally public community water systems
- Municipally-owned non-transient, non-community (NTNC) water systems
- Private non-profit community water system
- For-profit water systems are not eligible for the planning loan program; planning may be funded using other sources, however