Vermont launches $6.8 million program for rural water infrastructure

(UI) — Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced a $6.8 million award to the Vermont Bond Bank to launch the Small System Capacity and Resiliency Program.

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this program aims to support small, primarily rural municipalities in restoring flood-impacted and repairing other drinking water and wastewater systems.

“Helping communities recover from last summer’s flood continues to be a priority for me and my team,” said Governor Scott. “This ARPA funded program will help ease the financial burden for municipalities to address water and wastewater systems that are in need of repair, making them more resilient for years to come.”

“This grant will allow us to continue our work supporting flood impacted municipalities by minimizing borrowing costs as they rebuild,” said Michael Gaughan, Executive Director of Vermont Bond Bank. “It will also allow us to deepen our mission by unlocking new financial resources for small water systems. We’re thankful for this partnership with the State of Vermont that builds on our existing work with the state revolving loan fund.”

The Vermont Bond Bank will provide awards to small municipalities to help repair, upgrade, or replace existing water and wastewater systems that are at risk of failure or have failed. Failures may be due to the July 2023 flooding or age-related defects.

The Small System Capacity and Resiliency Program will support communities through two funding tiers. Tier one will be the highest priority for these funds. It will include partially-forgivable, zero-interest loans for flood-impacted facilities. Tier two will provide grants or forgivable loans, largely for small rural drinking water systems.

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