This Applicant's Guide is intended for any municipality, utility authority or other eligible entity with an interest in obtaining financing for green infrastructure projects from the New Jersey Water Bank1. It offers a "roadmap" for applicants by providing information in one place regarding what is involved in getting from an initial funding query through to final construction dollars. The Applicant's Guide may also be helpful for entities interested in financing traditional gray infrastructure projects. Other critical resources for developing a funding application include the Water Bank website, the current year's Intended Use Plan, and DEP's Stormwater Best Practices Manual (BMP), all of which are linked in the FAQs section below.
The Applicant's Guide
- provides an overview of financing available from the Water Bank for green infrastructure;
- clarifies the sequence of required application activities, and
- defines the standards that must be met at each step along the way.
Since issuing the first loan in 1987, the New Jersey Water Bank ("Water Bank"), has been jointly funded and managed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank ("I-Bank"). The Water Bank provides low-cost financing for environmental infrastructure projects, including green infrastructure projects.
The Water Bank leverages and lends Federal and State Revolving Funds at 0% interest with publicly issued bonds to provide low interest rate loans for the planning, design and construction of clean water infrastructure projects and purchase of related equipment.
THE GOAL OF THE WATER BANK IS TO PROVIDE FUNDING TO NEEDED, CONSTRUCTION-READY WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS TO QUALIFIED BORROWERS.
The Water Bank is an excellent source of funding for green infrastructure projects in New Jersey: the program awarded over $10 million for green infrastructure projects throughout the State in FY15 through FY17 alone. Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) communities are eligible to receive principal forgiveness, a grant-like financing incentive, to fund a portion of green infrastructure stormwater management projects.
According to the U.S. EPA, "Green infrastructure practices mimic natural hydrologic processes to reduce the quantity and/or rate of stormwater flows into the combined sewer system (CSS). By controlling stormwater runoff through the processes of infiltration, evapotranspiration, and capture and use (rainwater harvesting), green infrastructure can help keep stormwater out of the CSS.2 Similarly, the Water Bank states that, "effective use of green infrastructure is an important tool in a comprehensive approach to reducing the overflow of untreated wastewater from CSO outfalls." For these reasons, the Water Bank provides loans for the development and implementation of Long Term Control Plans and the design of the corresponding mitigation project(s) in CSO communities. These Planning and Design loans have historically been 100% interest free for terms of up to 10 years.
First-time applicants to the Water Bank are sometimes intimidated by the application process and requirements. The purpose of this Applicant's Guide is to provide a comprehensive guide to application requirements, so that applicants interested in seeking Water Bank financing in support of green infrastructure projects can develop a successful application.
1Prior to 2018, the New Jersey Water Bank was known as the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program (NJEIFP), a joint financing program of the DEP and New Jersey Infrastructure Bank, (I-Bank) (f/k/a NJEIT).
2U.S. E.P.A., "Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control." March 2014. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015- 10/documents/greening_cso_plans_0.pdf
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