Tennessee to upgrade water infrastructure with $22m budget

In the US, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced more than $22 million in low-interest loans for water infrastructure upgrades.

 

The loans will be distributed through the Tennessee State Revolving Fund Loan programme.

The State Revolving Fund programme is an initiative backed by the Tennessee state government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help communities, utility districts, water and wastewater authorities to make use of low-interest loans to modernise their infrastructure.

EPA provides the funding required for the implementation of the loan programme and the Tennessee state government matches the capital from EPA by adding 20% of provided funding.

The TDEC works in collaboration with the Local Development Authority in selecting and shortlisting projects to participate in the programme.

According to a statement, the loans provided fall under efforts by the US government to help utility companies improve their operations at the same time maintaining environmental and public health.

For instance, the Water Authority of Dickson in Dickson County will receive $1,3 million and $4 million in loans to upgrade existing analogue water meters with automatic reading meters.

The city of Paris in Henry County will receive $750,000 and $500,000 loans which will be paid over a period of 20 years, to modernise water treatment infrastructure.

Bill Haslam, the governor of Tennessee, commented: “The State Revolving Fund Loan Program helps citizens enjoy a better quality of life by assisting communities with current and future infrastructure needs for improved environmental health.

Bob Martineau, TEDC Commissioner, added: “Clean water is the lifeblood of our communities.”

Since inception in 1987, the State Revolving Fund has awarded over $1.8 billion in loans through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan programme and $300 million in loans through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan.

Water infrastructure funding

Meanwhile, EPA said it is set to announce the beneficiaries of the first round of the agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation programme.

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act is an initiative established in 2014 to help cities, municipalities and projects improve their waste water collection and treatment, and water treatment and distribution infrastructure.

However, the water infrastructure funding initiative has managed to secure $1.5 billion in funding from the government to provide projects with loans.