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Lee, TDEC Announce $2.5 Million Wastewater Loan for Dyersburg

Friday, October 25, 2019 | 10:06am

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner David Salyers today announced a $2.5 million loan for Dyersburg for wastewater infrastructure improvements, with $500,000 of that total in principal forgiveness.

Dyersburg was awarded a Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) planning and design loan to improve its wastewater collection system.  The loan consists of principal forgiveness in the amount of $500,000 and principal in the amount of $2 million with a five-year term and a 0.38 percent interest rate. 

“We are pleased we can assist local communities with important infrastructure improvements,” Lee said. “This loan directly addresses a need and will improve quality of life.”

“Water and wastewater infrastructure is a critical need for communities,” Salyers said. “The low-cost loan program is an excellent financial tool for helping ensure our water resources are preserved for future generations.”

Dyersburg’s loan will assist the community in improving its wastewater collection system by reducing inflow and infiltration from groundwater during storm events. With this loan, the community has committed to piloting efforts to reduce risks to wastewater infrastructure by adopting and implementing flood resilient strategies in planning, design, and construction efforts. The flood resilience pilot project will be used to educate other communities facing similar issues on best practices to protect critical infrastructure, human health and safety, and water quality.

TDEC is promoting the use of pilot projects through the State Revolving Fund loan process as a way to generate community leadership and development of shared solutions to significant water infrastructure challenges. SRF Director Dr. Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler hopes the pilot projects can become a model for others operating utilities in Tennessee.

“TDEC is excited to promote the use of new technologies and solutions to a limited number of small and disadvantaged communities willing to document and demonstrate project benefits,” Gillespie-Marthaler said.

Those communities will receive principal forgiveness, in part, from their in-kind work monitoring project outcomes and sharing the information for the benefit of others. The effort will support TDEC’s mission to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Tennessee and to be stewards of the environment, and demonstrates TDEC’s prioritization of subsidy to qualified State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan applicants as part of the effort to assist small and disadvantaged communities across the state.

Through the State Revolving Fund Program, communities, utility districts and water and wastewater authorities can obtain loans with lower interest rates than most can obtain through private financing. Interest rates for loans can vary from zero percent to market rate, based on each community’s economic index. Loans utilizing EPA grant funds can also include a principal forgiveness component.

This fiscal year, TDEC has awarded $85,000 in drinking water loans and $33 million in clean water loans to meet the state’s infrastructure needs. During fiscal year 2019, TDEC awarded $13,430,300 in drinking water loans and $83,194,500 in clean water loans for a total of $96,624,800 to meet those water infrastructure needs. Tennessee’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $2 billion in low-interest loans since its inception in 1987. The state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $300 million in low-interest loans since its inception in 1996.

TDEC administers the State Revolving Fund Program in conjunction with the Tennessee Local Development Authority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides grants to fund the program, and the state provides a 20-percent match. Loan repayments are returned to the program and are used to fund future SRF loans.