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City sewers are a critical public infrastructure system that helps protect the health, safety and environmental resources of urban communities. Grants are available from federal, state and local governments that assist with everything from individual connections to large-scale capital improvements. Both homeowners and the communities that service them can benefit from certain grant programs, so they're often of interest to users and managers of city sewers.
Federal Economic Development Assistance Programs
The federal government provides grant support to local communities — especially those with a significant financial need — to help pay for city sewer infrastructure and other public works. An example is the Public Works, Economic Adjustment Assistance, and GCCMIF Economic Development Assistance Programs, an opportunity through the Economic Development Administration, or EDA. The EDA provides grant funds for sewer projects as a part of its Public Works and Economic Development focus area. These opportunities usually come with a local matching requirement of 50 percent or more of total costs.
Washington State Water Quality Grants
States also often provide assistance to local communities looking to improve their city sewer infrastructure. In Washington, for example, the government engages in three grant programs that help support sewer and storm water infrastructure with the intention to enhance water quality; some of these funds ultimately come from federal sources. Among the grant programs available in Washington are the Centennial Clean Water grant program, the federal Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint-Source grant program and the state's Revolving Fund Loan for water quality improvements. Grants are awarded to communities on an annual funding cycle.
Rural Sewer Grants
State grants support city sewer systems in both large and small communities. An example is the Missouri Rural Sewer Grants Program, which focuses its support on wastewater systems that serve currently unsewered rural communities. The local matching requirement for the Rural Sewer Grants Program is 50 percent or more of total project costs. Rural sewer grants for small communities have also been provided by the federal government and other states such as North Carolina and New York.
Certain grant programs available for city sewers are actually available to individual homeowners. Fort Lauderdale's WaterWorks Grant Program, for example, is intended to finance sewer connections by subsidizing the fee normally charged for new sewer hookups in the city. The program is only available to owners of single-family detached homes that function as their primary residence; the program isn't available for investment properties. Local governments across the nation provide assistance to low-income homeowners through initiatives that resemble Fort Lauderdale's program, including programs in Marathon, Florida, and in Olympia and Pierce counties in Washington State.
- Economic Development Administration; Announcement Of Federal Funding Opportunity — Public Works, Economic Adjustment Assistance and GCCMIF Economic Development Assistance Programs; 2010
- Washington Dept. of Ecology; Focus on Grants and Loans; 2010
- Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources; Rural Sewer Grant Program; 2009
- EPA; Federal Funding Sources for Small Community Wastewater Systems; 2010
- National Association of Water Companies: Water Infrastructure Financing
- US EDA: About EDA
- State of New York: Co-funding Public Water and Sewer Projects in Water and Sewer Projects
- Keynoter; City OKs Grants for Lateral Sewer Pipes; Ryan McCarthy; 2011
- City of Olympia; Olympia's Septic to Sewer Conversion Program; 2011
- Pierce County; Grants Available for Connecting to the Sewer System; 2011
- City of Charlottesville; Reduced Water and Sewer Connection Fees; 2011
Matt Petryni has been writing since 2007. He was the environmental issues columnist at the "Oregon Daily Emerald" and has experience in environmental and land-use planning. Petryni holds a Bachelor of Science of planning, public policy and management from the University of Oregon.