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Stormwater Financing Workshop 2 Overview

See below for key information from presentations shared at the workshop.

Workshop Agenda

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At Workshop 2, Massachusetts municipal staff discussed their experiences with establishing stormwater utilities and enterprise funds.

Clean Water State Revolving (SRF) Fund

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Presented by: Maria Pinaud, Director of the Division of Municipal Services - Bureau of Water Resources, MassDEP

  • Finances water infrastructure projects to assist communities in complying with Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts

  • SRF funding features fixed low-interest rates with flexible repayment terms and state-match funding for loan forgiveness for disadvantaged communities

  • $902,698,623 of funding is available for 2023

Project submissions for the next round of SRF funding are due in July 2024, and funding for selected projects begins in Spring 2026.

What is the SRF Loan Program?

Eligible projects include:

  • Stormwater management

  • Combined Sewer Overflow correction

  • Infiltration/inflow remediation

  • Sewer system rehabilitation

  • Wastewater treatment improvements and construction

  • Collection systems

  • Nonpoint source pollution management

  • Nutrient enrichment mitigation and planning

  • Wastewater projects intended for energy/water conservation, production of renewable energy, and climate resiliency

Key priorities under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) include:

  • Increased investment in disadvantaged communities

  • Rapid progress on lead service line replacement

  • Addressing PFAS and emerging contaminants

  • Supporting projects addressing climate resilience

  • Supporting American workers through prevailing wage laws

  • Cultivating domestic manufacturing through the Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA). BABAA applies to all projects financed through SRF

Free Technical Assistance Opportunities

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Presented by: Martha Sheils, Director - New England Environmental Finance Center

  • New England Water Infrastructure Network (NEWIN) consists of several organizations interested in bridging the gap between water challenges and investment in water infrastructure for future generations.

  • Free training and technical assistance to municipalities, organizations, and tribes, with underrepresented communities and those with pressing water quality challenges prioritized.

  • The primary goal is to shepherd systems, communities and tribes through the planning, design, and application process to access capital from SRFs for water infrastructure.

NEWIN Technical Assistance Services

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Stormwater Utilities in New England

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Presented by:
Mary Tchamkina, Manager - Raftelis Financial Consultants
Annaliese Keimel, Staff Engineer - Tighe & Bond

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Utility Development Considerations

  • Stormwater utilities are supported through user fees typically established by a local ordinance. Stormwater utility funds are distinct from water and sewer funds and the general fund; they are dedicated to supporting stormwater services and compliance activities.

  • Fees are most often based on the amount of impervious area on a property – properties with more impervious area place more demand on the stormwater system and would therefore pay a higher fee under a stormwater utility.

  • Stormwater utilities are a sustainable funding strategy that promotes long-term financial planning, are equitable, account for future uncertainty regarding regulations, and align rate structure and credit program with the goals of the stormwater program.

  • Utilities should be driven by existing community resources, community needs and expectations, and an understanding of industry standards and practices.

  • Proactive communication and a robust public outreach process is crucial to successful utility implementation.

  • Public messaging should focus on the concrete facts and benefits of stormwater utilities to build trust and enhance community understanding.

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Peer Community Experiences:

Town of Ashland, Massachusetts

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Presented by: Evan White, Senior Engineer - Town of Ashland DPW

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  • Development of the stormwater utility program in Ashland involved a communicative process between Town agencies, the Select Board, and members of the public.

  • Ashland developed a rate structure using assessors’ use codes – residential rates were set at $10/quarter but lowered to $8.75 by the Select Board.

  • The utility required a separate database to be built within the Town’s MUNIS system

  • Ashland created a Stormwater Division within the DPW to implement the IDDE program, screen outfalls, conduct drainage repairs, and investigate catchments.

Ashland rate structure (top) and enterprise fund allocation (bottom).

Peer Community Experiences:

Town of Westford, Massachusetts

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Presented by:
Paul Starratt, Town Engineer - Town of Westford Engineering Department
Christine Collins, Tax Collector-Treasurer - Town of Westford

  • Westford began by developing a Stormwater Management Master Plan.

  • Financial impacts and fairness of the fee were determined through numerous meetings with the Select Board and stakeholders.

  • Westford's initial attempt at establishing the utility was not successful - however, it was adopted after additional public outreach and determination of the rate structure.

  • Select Board settled on a five-tier rate structure to minimize burden on the lowest tier. The Town also voted to allow residents who defer real estate taxes to defer their stormwater bill.

  • After implementation, Westford has been able to replace culverts, complete drainage infrastructure improvements, develop a culvert asset management program, and continue to comply with the MS4 program.

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Rate Structure

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Culvert Inventory Program 

Peer Community Experiences:

Town of Westborough, Massachusetts

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Presented by: Chris Payant, Director - Town of Westborough DPW

  • Westborough is currently in the process of developing a stormwater utility.

  • The process began in 2020, the Town received a Clean Water Trust Grant in 2021, and Westborough held public information sessions on the stormwater utility in Spring 2023.

  • Learning from and engaging with peer municipalities has been helpful throughout the process, in addition to engaging with local stakeholders, highlighting equity, and emphasizing the importance of a long-term funding strategy.

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Proposed Fee Schedule for Single-Family Homes 

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Proposed Fee Schedule for Extra Large Homes and Non-Residential Structures

Additional Resources

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