Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE WATER BANK?

Since issuing the first loan in 1987, the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank ("I-Bank") has partnered with the Department of Environmental Protection ("DEP") to jointly fund and manage the State of New Jersey's Water Bank, 9 which provides low-cost financing for environmental infrastructure projects, including green infrastructure projects.

The Water Bank leverages Federal and State Revolving Funds 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, HIGHLY-RANKED WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.

 

WHAT IS GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE?

According to DEP, "green Infrastructure" (GI) refers to methods of stormwater management that allow the stormwater to infiltrate, to be treated by vegetation or by soils; or to be stored for reuse. GI practices include, but are not limited to the following:

  • pervious paving,
  • engineered wetlands,
  • rain gardens,
  • rainwater harvesting,
  • bioretention basins,
  • subsurface storage,
  • land conservation,
  • urban tree canopy,
  • vegetated swales, and
  • cisterns.

For more information, see the "Green Infrastructure Basics" section at the beginning of the guide.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE?

Green infrastructure projects are effective, economical, and enhance community safety and quality of life. According to DEP's report "Evaluating Green Infrastructure: A Combined Sewer Overflow Control Alternative for Long-Term Control Plans," the benefits of green infrastructure are threefold: environmental, social and economic:

  • Environmental Benefits - The driving force behind GI development in CSO sewersheds is stormwater runoff control. In addition to mitigating CSOs, GI can also help to mitigate other urban environmental issues such as surface and basement sewage flooding and urban heat island effect. GI can also offset air quality pollution, wildlife habitat loss and degradation, and effects from climate change.
  • Social Benefits - Before GI was viewed as a solution towards CSO control, it was viewed as an opportunity to beautify the city. For example, 'Green streets' in New York City were originally used for aesthetic improvements before the city began focusing on stormwater concerns. GI can be viewed as an opportunity to provide green space for recreation, attract businesses and visitors to the area, and improve traffic dynamics, particularly in the case of traffic islands and stormwater curb bump outs.
  • Economic Benefits - GI provides economic benefits such as improved property value, reduced need for traditional gray infrastructure, reduced risk and costs from environmental damage due to surface and basement sewage flooding, and the creation of green jobs.

 

WHY SHOULD WE USE THE WATER BANK FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE?

Using the Water Bank to finance GI projects provides significant benefits. According to a 2018 report by the I-Bank to the State Legislature, these benefits include the following:

  • Interest Cost Savings - obtaining financing from the Water Bank is less expensive than borrowing money on the open market. According to the I-Bank, SFY2018 program borrowers received 75% of their long-term financing from the DEP at 0% and the remaining 25% of funds from the -Bank at the I-Bank's AAA market rate, creating a "blended" loan rate of 25% of the AAA market rate. This lower cost of funds results in interest savings on average of 40% of the total loan amount over 30 years when compared to the cost of these borrowers financing their projects on their own. Further, during the short-term loan period, Borrowers do not repay principal or interest on funds utilized.
  • Earnings Credits - Investment earnings from all bond funds, such as the project fund, revenue fund and, when applicable, borrower funded debt service reserve funds are distributed to Borrowers as credits toward their debt service payments.
  • No bond insurance required - the I-Bank's financial structure produces the highest possible credit rating without the expense or requirement for Borrowers of purchasing costly bond insurance.
  • No reserve - Borrowers in the Financing Program are exempted from the Division of Local Government Services requirement of posting a 5% reserve prior to bond issuance.
  • Minimized financing costs - Borrowers are charged a flat 10 basis point fee for cost-of-issuance of I-Bank bonds on the I-Bank portion of their total project loan. The remainder of the cost-of-issuance of the bonds is paid by the I-Bank.
  • No front-loading requirement - local units of government issuing their own general obligation debt are required to "front load" their repayment schedule. This ensures that debt service payments are larger in the early years of the loan, and decline over time. The Financing Program provides for level debt service throughout the life of the loan normalizing annual payments for rate payers.
  • Refunding - The I-Bank continually monitors market conditions to assess when interest rates meet the State's savings threshold for refunding prior bonds. All savings realized from prior bond refunds are passed on to Borrowers, further lowering their loan costs.
  • Debt service reserve fund - Investment grade rated Borrowers are relieved of their obligation to commit a portion of loan funds to debt service reserve due to the Water Bank's Master Program I-Bank collateralization structure that secures a AAA rating. 
  • Upfront Cash - The disbursement of funds is expedited based on a rapid requisition approval process relieving Borrowers from utilizing cash-on-hand to pay contractors and vendors up front (typically 14 to 21 days after receipt of a complete requisition package).
  • Capitalized interest -Borrowers with projects that are not construction complete prior to Long-Term financing, may capitalize interest on the Long-Term loan as allowable by the IRS guidelines (note: starting in SFY2019, projects are required to be construction complete to receive long-term financing).
  • Deferred Principal Repayment - During the Short-Term loan period no principal repayments are due. Additionally, to better align a project's cash flow dynamics, Borrowers with projects that are not construction complete prior to Long-Term financing (see above note), may defer principal repayment as allowable by the IRS guidelines.
  • Flexible Term - Shorter term financing is available for Borrowers who wish to minimize the repayment period of their loan.
  • No Arbitrage Worries - The I-Bank manages federal IRS arbitrage rebate requirements, relieving Borrowers of the cost and administration of this obligation.
  • No Secondary Disclosure Requirements - Due to the size of the Financing program, presently no single Borrower is a "Material Obligated" entity. As a result, Water Bank Borrowers are not required to fulfill secondary disclosure requirements for the S.E.C.

There are additional benefits for green infrastructure applications in CSO communities. For example, in SFY2019, The Water Bank provides 50% principal forgiveness, 25% DEP interest-free financing, and 25% I-Bank market-rate financing for GI projects that manage stormwater to reduce the overflow of untreated wastewater from CSOs. Please note that these terms are subject to change, and that applicants should consult the current year's Intended Use Plan.

Finally, green infrastructure projects are an alternative that must be evaluated as part of the development of Long Term Control Plans. For more information, please consult DEP's January 2018 report "Evaluating Green Infrastructure: A Combined Sewer Overflow Control Alternative for Long-Term Control Plans."

 

WHAT KINDS OF GI PROJECTS HAVE GOTTEN WATER BANK FUNDING?

The Water Bank provided New Jersey Future with a list of every green project funded in FY2015 through FY2017 and a list of green projects in the pipeline for FY2018 and beyond. These projects and their respective application information are shown in Tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1: Projects with green infrastructure funded by the Water Bank from SFY2015 to SFY2017

FYProject SponsorProject NumberLegislature Report Cost AmountDescription
2015Camden County MUAS340640-14$5,657,000Green Infrastructure/CSO - Construction of 10 new rain gardens in Camden; replacing deteriorating combined sewer pipes; and remediation & construction of the second and final phase of Phoenix Park, a bioretention park.
2015Hoboken CityS340635-04$10,587,764Below-grade Wet Weather Pump Station - This sustainable stormwater component comprises four 1,200-gallon aboveground rainwater tanks (cisterns) to capture rainwater runoff from the roof of City Hall, and rain gardens in the northwest and southwest corners of the building that utilize the captured water.
2017Camden County MUAS340640-15$5,333,565Green Infrastructure/CSO - Construction and installation of rain gardens, planter boxes, porous concrete sidewalks, and porous pavement to manage stormwater runoff from impervious areas and reduce pressure on Camden City's combined sewer system.
2017Elizabeth CityS340942-19$6,435,644Green project component: This project will include a test case for installing Green Infrastructure. A bioswale will be installed on the northeast side of Trumbull Street, a rain garden will be installed in the proposed park and if possible, and tree boxes will be installed along Bond Street.
2017Hoboken CityS340635-05$4,172,126Acquisition / GI CSO - The newly opened Southwest Park addresses local flooding issues with green infrastructure and an underground retention system designed to handle a 10- year storm. The park's design combines passive rainwater collection, permeable paving, rain gardens and bioswales with sub-surface storage beneath a new community park.
2017Hoboken CityS340635-06$31,091,350Acquisition / GI CSO - The acquisition/environmental investigation/design and planning of a 5.4-acre park in northwest Hoboken. Includes stormwater retention, public park/open space, and sub-surface stormwater quality treatment. The sub-surface stormwater storage will allow approximately 1 million gallons of stormwater flows to be received, treated and discharged.
   $52,689,685 

Table 2: Projects with green infrastructure in the Water Bank pipeline (SFY2018 and beyond)

Anticipated FYProject SponsorProject NumberLegislature Report CostDescription
2018+Camden County MUAS340640-17$ 6,650,000Green and Gray Infrastructure/CSO
2018+Camden County MUAS340640-20$ 6,500,000Camden City Green Infrastructure
2018+Elizabeth CityS340942-17$ 5,500,000South Street Storm Water Resiliency
2018Hoboken CityS340635-07 $ 5,000,000Resilient Green Infrastructure for CSO Reduction
2018+Hoboken CityS340635-08$ 6,600,000Southwest Resiliency Park Phase 2 - Acquisition and Rehabilitation
2018Jersey City MUAS340928-22$ 750,000Green Infrastructure - Planter boxes, rain gardens, permeable surfaces
2018+Jersey City MUAS340928-27$ 500,000Green Infrastructure - Martin Luther King Drive Tree Trenches
2018+Newark CityS340815-25$ 400,000Green Infrastructure - permeable surfaces
2018+Newark CityS340815-27$ 3,800,000Porous pavements, rain gardens, stormwater planters, and tree trenches
2018Perth Amboy CityS340435-13$ 850,000The Paving of Parking Lots C and RDH (GI)
2018+Perth Amboy CityS340435-14$ 2,608,000CSO Reparation (Pulaski Avenue / Parker Street / State Street)
2018+Perth Amboy CityS340435-17$ 4,418,400Second Street Corridor Project - Green Infrastructure as pedestrian safety features
2018+Seaside Park BoroughS344200-02$ 2,800,000Barnegat Bay Watershed Green Infrastructure Reconstruction of Parking Lots
   $ 46,376,400 

 

WHAT OTHER RESOURCES SHOULD I CONSULT?

Applicants should consult

Please note that if there is a discrepancy between the Applicants Guide and these additional resources, applicants should refer to the source document or contact the I-Bank with questions at (609) 219-8600 or information@njib.gov.

 

WHO CAN I CONTACT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

For financing questions, call or email the I-Bank at (609) 219-8600 or information@njib.gov.

For project and technical question, call the NJDEP Water Bank staff at (609) 292-8961.

You can also consult the Information Contact Sheet on the following page.

Information Contact Sheet
NJ I-Bank
David Zimmer, Executive Director
dzimmer@njib.gov
609-219-8604
Frank Scangarella, Assistant Director/COO
fscangarella@njib.gov
(Project questions)
609-219-8605
Lauren Kaltman, CFO
lskaltman@njib.gov
(Financial questions)
609-219-8607
 
Geoffrey Stewart, Financial Advisor
Public Financial Management
215-567-6100
Richard Nolan, Bond Counsel
McCarter & English, LLP
973-622-4444
3131 Princeton Pike, Bldg. 4, Suite 216
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
609-219-8600
Web page: www.njib.gov
Facebook: www.facebook.com/njibank
Twitter: www.twitter.com/njibank
NJDEP
Michele Putman, Acting Assistant Comm.
michele.putnam@dep.nj.gov
609-292-4543
Janice Brogle, Acting Director
janice.brogle@dep.nj.gov
609-292-997
401 East State Street
PO Box 420, Mail Code 401-03D
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
Web page: www.nj.gov/dep/dwq/
Clean Water SRF
609-292-8961
Drinking Water SRF
609-292-5550
Eugene Chebra, Assistant Director
eugene.chebra@dep.nj.gov
(General questions)
609-292-8961
Patricia Gardner, Director
pat.gardner@dep.nj.gov
609-292-7219
Scott Shymon, Bureau Chief
Construction, Payments & Administration
scott.shymon@dep.nj.gov
(Project eligibility questions)
609-292-3114
Sandra Krietzman, Bureau Chief
sandy.krietzman@dep.nj.gov
(General Drinking Water info)
609-292-5550
Gautam Patel, Bureau Chief
Environmental, Engineering & Permitting
gautam.patel@dep.nj.gov
(General questions)
609-984-4429
Nina Odunlami
nina.odunlami@dep.nj.gov
(General Drinking Water info)
609-292-5550
Karen Cole, Section Chief
Environmental Review Section
karen.cole@dep.nk.gov
(Environmental questions)
609-633-1170
Kelly Hullen
kelly.hullen@dep.nj.gov
(General Drinking Water info)
609-292-5550
Charles Jenkins, Section Chief
Engineering Review Section
charles.jenkins@dep.nj.gov
(Engineering questions)
609-633-1170
Kristin Tedesco
kristin.tedesco@dep.nj.gov
(General Drinking Water info)
609-292-5550

9 Until 2018, this program was known as the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program ("NJEIFP").

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