DEP Offers Interest-Free Loan to Clewiston for Water Treatment Project

Jan. 23, 2015

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is awarding an interest-free loan to the city of Clewiston as part of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. The $811,700 loan will be used to rehabilitate the city’s deteriorated master pump station, a critical component for reliable wastewater treatment for residents. Clewiston, a rural agricultural community that is recovering from the economic downturn, qualifies for the department’s recently-allowed offering of no-interest loans to disadvantaged communities.

The federal Clean Water Act was recently amended to include additional provisions, such as the Davis-Bacon and American Iron and Steel requirements, to projects funded through the State Revolving Fund. In response to the additional anticipated costs that will result from these requirements, Florida revised its program’s rules to allow for a reduction in the overall interest rates collected on loans to keep these projects affordable. The reduction allows the interest rates to go as low as zero for some project sponsors, especially communities in need. Clewiston is the first community to qualify for an interest-free loan.

“This project is an example of the department’s continued commitment to improving water quality, which is essential to both public health and economic growth,” said Mark Thomasson, director of DEP’s Division of Water Resource Management. “This rule revision encourages communities to continue to invest in vital infrastructure to properly manage and treat wastewater and prevent harmful pollutants from reaching surface waters.”

While the master pump station is vital to the continued operation of Clewiston’s wastewater treatment system to meet existing demand, the new master pump station is also designed to accommodate expected growth in Clewiston as the community continues to recover. The new station will require only minor modifications to increase capacity as demand increases.

“This zero-interest loan allows the city of Clewiston to make the necessary improvements to our wastewater infrastructure while safely protecting our precious environment and serve our great city for the next 40 years,” said Al Perry, city manager for the city of Clewiston.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program was established in 1989 to provide low-interest financing for the planning, design and construction of wastewater and stormwater facilities, in compliance with the Clean Water Act. This program has awarded nearly $4.8 billion in loans since its inception, and more than $1.4 billion in funding for 96 projects in just the last five years. Funded by federal grants, state matching funds, loan repayments and interest earnings, state revolving fund loans are offered at low-interest rates. Repayments from earlier loans are used to make new loans, allowing the program to continue operating.

For more information on the State Revolving Fund program, please visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wff/

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