Step 1: State Revolving Fund - Planning and Preliminary Engineering

Financing

Funding for facilities planning is available through the CWSRF loan program and DWSRF Water Planning Loan program.  All projects requesting funding need to fill out a priority list application form. From the pool of applicants, the Facilities Engineering Division develops a Priority List to identify eligible projects and funding is projected for the next five years.
Once a project is listed, the municipality is encouraged to solicit qualified engineering consultants for planning work.  After selection, the municipality and engineer then develop a draft service agreement and planning budget. Once the budget is formulated, the municipality can apply for a Step 1 Planning loan.

Engineering/Environmental Consulting

Step 1 Engineering begins by the Consultant documenting existing facilities, assessing condition, identifying applicable standards and regulations, and noting deficiencies.  The Consultant then evaluates the feasibility of each alternative for correcting the deficiencies, but is also aware that if no practicable alternative exists, the no-action alternative may be appropriate for evaluation purposes.  The alternatives analysis includes preliminary cost estimates and a preliminary assessment of potential environmental impacts.  The Consultant then recommends a preferred option and develops an itemized cost estimate and performs a life-cycle cost analysis.  The deliverable for Step 1 is a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) detailing the above.

As the PER is developed, the Consultant and town are to hold meetings at the 30%, 60%, and 90% completion stages, in accordance with the loan agreement. The meetings should include town staff, the Authorized Representative, the system operator, the Consultant, and the Design Section engineer and/or Drinking Water engineer.  (Smaller projects may have fewer meetings, and larger projects may have more.)

Step 1 Engineering concludes with the Environmental Review process.  The Consultant prepares an Environmental Information Document (EID) to demonstrate that the preferred alternative is either eligible for a Categorical Exclusion or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.  For FONSI projects, the Environmental Review process requires a warned public meeting at the 60% PER completion stage to discuss the evaluated alternatives. 
Note that it is acceptable to complete Environmental Review as part of Step 2 final design loan.  Should a municipality choose to proceed in this manner, they will not receive reimbursements on the Step 2 loan until Environmental Review is complete and Facilities Engineering issues a Facilities Plan Approval Letter.  

Facilities Planning – Bonding

After receiving Facilities Planning Approval, as described above, the municipality is recommended to secure a positive bond vote to collateralize the project loan.  The bonding process includes, drafting authorization language, holding an informational hearing, and conducting a vote.  After voting is concluded, the municipality then submits a legal opinion confirming that the bond is valid for purposes of the project.  Bonding is recommended at the conclusion of Step I, but is required before Step 3.

Step 1 Process Tasks
X = Required, S = Situationally Required

Task # Task Description and Guidance Document Link FAQs Check List CW DW
1 Identify the Problem     X X
2

Submit Priority List Application (Annually) 
Drinking Water Application
Clean Water Application

    X X
3 Select an Engineer (Request for Qualifications)      X X
4a Submit Draft Engineering Services Agreement (ESA) and Level of Effort (LOE)     X X
4b FED reviews draft ESA and sends comments     X X
4c Make any requested changes     X X
4c Finalize Engineering Services Agreement      X X
4d Execute Engineering Services Agreement and Send to FED     X X
5a Submit Completed Step I Loan Application (YOU MUST RIGHT CLICK, 'SAVE LINK AS', and save remotely before completing)     X X
5b Receive Finding of Complete Application or Letter of Concurrance     X X
5c Receive Loan Approval Documents       X X
6a Execute Loan Documents     X X
6b Request Payment for Documented Expenses (Monthly)     X S
7 Consultant Starts Project Work     X S
8a 30% Planning Meeting     X S
8b 30% Planning Submittal     X S
8c Request Payment for Documented Expenses (Monthly - up to 30%)     X S
8d State Design Engineer reviews submittal & sends comments     X S
9a 60% Planning Meeting     X S
9b Formal Selection of Alternative at Public Meeting     S S
9c 60% Planning Submittal     X X
9d Request Payment for Documented Expenses (Monthly - up to 60%)     X X
9e State Engineer reviews submittal and sends comments     X X
10a 90% Planning Meeting     X X
10b 90% Planning Submittal     X X
10c Request Payment for Documented Expenses (Monthly - up to 90%)     X X
11a Peer Review of 90% Preliminary Engineering Report and draft Basis of Final Design     S S
11b State Engineer  reviews 90% Preliminary Engineering Report and draft Basis of Final Design     X X
11c NPDES Review of 90% Preliminary Engineering Report and draft Basis of Final Design for WWTFs     S -
12a Consultant is responsive to all comments and makes changes as requested.     X X
12b Submittal of Final Preliminary Engineering Report     X X
12c Request Payment for Documented Expenses (Monthly - up to allowable)     X X
12d State Engineer Review and Acceptance     X/S X/S
13a Submit Draft Environmental Information Document (EID)/Environmental Report for FED Environmental Review     X -
13b Public Notification - 30-day comment  period     S -
13c Public Hearing (Situational)     S -
13d FED issues decision on Environmental Review     X -
14 FED issues Facilities Plan Approval Letter     X -
15a Submit draft voter authorization language (Situational)     X X
15b Voter Information Hearing     X X
15c Voter Authorization (Bond Vote)     X X

 

Agency of Natural Resources
Department of Environmental Conservation
Facilities Engineering Division

Main Building - 1st Floor
One National Life Drive
Montpelier, VT 05620-3510
802-828-1550