State Revolving Fund
Many local governments face tremendous financial challenges in their efforts to maintain adequate drinking water and wastewater management systems. DHEC plays a role in helping these entities.
Between the dilemma of aging infrastructure and additional stresses on the state’s water resources, municipal providers are constantly challenged to repair the existing systems and to build new infrastructure to accommodate growth. DHEC administers the State Revolving Fund (SRF) program in South Carolina using federal funds granted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a source of funding to help local governments with these challenges.
The 1987 amendments of the federal Clean Water Act set the groundwork for federal grants to seed a revolving loan program in South Carolina to help address wastewater and non-point source pollution issues. In 1996, amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act provided a mirror program for drinking water systems. The SRF is a low-interest loan program fueled by federal grants and a required 20% state match. DHEC, in conjunction with the State Budget and Control Board (BCB), administers the program under EPA’s supervision. Federal law and regulations shape much of the program.
Birthed from the Clean Water Act, the Clean Water SRF has made loans exceeding $770 million over the past two decades. As a newer program, with a lower amount of federal funds authorized, the Drinking Water SRF has effected loans exceeding $162 million since the late 1990’s.
While the SRF is not the only source of funding for local governments to maintain and improve water and sewer infrastructure, it is an important component and has been successful. DHEC receives the federal grants each year, serves as the lead for the program and manages the technical aspects of the program. The BCB functions as the “banker” for the SRF program.
Future challenges for these programs will be to continue to make the program helpful to our local government customers and to identify the top propriety needs as water quality conditions change in the state. The financial stressors on local governments are growing with increasing demands on these entities and DHEC and the BCB must continue to adapt to these challenges.