Location: SCR 357
Funding for Drinking Water and Wastewater Projects
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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01:33 PM -- Funding for Drinking Water and Wastewater Projects
The committee returned from recess. Pat Pfaltzgraff explained that the WQCD conducts an annual survey of public entities to identify drinking water and wastewater project needs. He explained how this list is then used to establish the federal EPA appropriations for state capitalization grants.
Michael Brod, Executive Director, Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, explained that each year, the WQCD, the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority, and the Division of Local Government in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) prepare a list of projects that are eligible for loans from the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund. The lists are approved annually by the Water Quality Control Commission. The projects on the eligibility list are then included in an annual joint resolution that is considered by the General Assembly. Once the joint resolution is approved, the authority may issue loans for public drinking water and wastewater projects. In 2017, the General Assembly approved the project eligibility list for the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund that identified 330 projects with an estimated cost of $5.6 billion. The 2017 project eligibility list for the Drinking Water Revolving Fund identified 421 projects with an estimated cost of $7.1 billion.
Mr. Broad explained that approximately 70 percent of loans issued by the authority are issued to disadvantaged communities. These governmental entities are eligible for grants from the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund for up to $10,000 for engineering and design; energy audits; plans and specifications; environmental assessments; technical, managerial, and financial capacity (DWRF only); and legal fees for special district formation. In addition, these entities are also eligible for grants for up to $250,000 for design and engineering directly associated with a proposed project. He estimated that approximately $20 billion is needed to fund public drinking water and wastewater projects over the next 20 years. He explained the Department of Local Affairs provides funds and technical assistance to towns, school districts, and other political subdivisions impacted by mineral development. Funding for the loans and grants is obtained from federal mineral lease royalties and the state severance tax. These moneys may be used to pay for water and sewer improvements; road improvements; recreation centers, senior centers, and other public facilities; fire protection buildings and equipment; and local government planning. The department is also authorized to provide loans for potable water treatment facilities and domestic wastewater treatment works. Mr. Brod responded to questions from the committee about entities eligible for DOLA Energy Impact Assistance grants and U.S. Department of Agriculture grants and loans for rural communities.
Mr. Pfaltzgraff responded to questions from the committee about the ability of disadvantaged communities to pay for mandated upgrades to water treatment facilities and domestic wastewater treatment works and identified state and federal funding assistance to help address the cost of these projects. He also discussed factors that lead the Water Quality Control Commission to change water quality standards and explained how state drinking water and water discharge standards differ from federal standards. He also discussed compliance with arsenic standards that were recently increased by the EPA.