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Financing for Environmental Compliance
Small Communities Water Technical Assistance and Financial Resources

The following is a non-exhaustive list of free technical assistance and financial resources targeted toward small communities. See the Small Communities Contacts page for specific water program contacts.

EPA and other entities have published numerous documents and tools to assist municipal officials as they develop a financing plan. Those resources available to all communities can be located by clicking the general media technical assistance or financial links. Below are selected sites containing technical assistance and financial resource information specifically designed to assist small communities. This is not an exhaustive listing of available resources but rather highlights some resources from the vast array of available tools.

Technical Assistance Resources

EPA classifies drinking water systems serving fewer than 3,300 and wastewater systems serving less than 10,000 as small communities. The following is a non-exhaustive list of EPA and non-EPA technical assistance resources targeted at small water and wastewater systems.

EPA’s Drinking Water Academy
The Academy provides classroom and web-based training materials to help systems implement and comply with the Safe Drinking Act regulations.

EPA Office of Water – Management of Onsite/Decentralized Systems
This program provides voluntary national management guidelines and other information to regulators, community and business leaders, and citizens in small communities served by a variety of onsite wastewater technologies, including septic systems.

EPA’s Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water – Small Systems and Capacity Development
This Web site contains a wealth of information pertaining to small drinking water systems including technical, financial and managerial capacity development resources.

EPA Office of Water – Operator On-Site Technical Assistance Program [CWA §104(g)]
This program provides hands-on assistance to small municipal wastewater treatment plant operators to address compliance assistance, maintenance, and performance improvement matters by providing operations and maintenance, financial, and technical assistance at no cost to the community.

National Drinking Water Clearinghouse Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Clearinghouse is located at West Virginia University and helps small communities by collecting, developing, and providing timely information relevant to drinking water issues. It is intended for communities with fewer than 10,000 residents and the organizations who work with them. It offers training and free telephone consultation.

National Environmental Services Center Exit EPA Disclaimer
This Center provides technical assistance and information about drinking water, wastewater, environmental training, and solid waste management to communities serving fewer than 10,000 individuals.

National Environmental Training Center for Small Communities (NETCSC) Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Center develops and delivers training courses on wastewater, drinking water and solid waste to environmental trainers and state and local officials. Services include a toll-free technical assistance hotline, a Web site, computer databases, newsletters, and other activities.

National Small Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC) Exit EPA Disclaimer
The Clearinghouse collects and distributes information about small wastewater treatment solutions. Services include a toll-free technical assistance hotline, an internet-based discussion group, computer databases, newsletters, and other publications.

Rural Community Assistance Program Exit EPA Disclaimer
This network of nonprofit organizations provides community-specific information and technical assistance at no cost. The goal of this program is to improve the ability or rural communities to plan, design, operate, and maintain wastewater systems.

Small Community Enforcement and Compliance Assistance Policies
These guidances provide information about potential penalty reduction upon implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) and discuss the parameters of state compliance assistance programs.

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Financial Resources

EPA classifies drinking water systems serving fewer than 3,300 and wastewater systems serving less than 10,000 as small communities. The following is a non-exhaustive list of EPA and non-EPA technical assistance resources targeted at small water and wastewater systems.

Grants

USDA Colonias Grant Program
This program provides government funds to households residing in an area recognized as a colonia before October 1, 1989. Grant funds may be used to connect service lines to a residence, pay utility hook-up fees, install plumbing and related fixtures, i.e. a bathroom sink, bathtub or shower, commode, kitchen sink, water heater, outside spigot, or bathroom, if lacking. These grants are available to households who own and occupy the dwelling. These grants are available only in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

Loans

EPA Office of Water – Clean Water State Revolving Loan Program
All 50 states and Puerto Rico operate loan programs that provide low-interest financing for wastewater and other water quality projects. All of these programs provide assistance to small communities, and over half of the states have developed special programs for disadvantaged communities.

EPA Office of Water – Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Program
This program makes funds available to drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water. Loans made under the program can have interest rates between 0 percent and market rate and repayment terms of up to 20 years.

Multi-resource Links

EPA Office of Water – Federal Funding Sources for Small Community Wastewater Systems
This link provides information about programs through which small, under served communities can access information, financial resources and technical assistance to achieve adequate and cost effective wastewater systems. The publication contains 10 fact sheets of possible funding sources to help small, rural communities attain adequate wastewater systems. The fact sheets provide information on the types of help each program offers, what projects are funded, who is eligible, and how to reach the program contacts to apply for the funds.

EPA’s Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water – Small Systems and Capacity Development
This Web site contains a wealth of information pertaining to small drinking water systems including technical, financial and managerial capacity development resources.

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