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New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are the funds only for planning activities?
  2. What types of projects is the funding intended to be used for?
  3. Can funds be utilized to prepare a Map Plan & Report (MPR)/Engineers report for a new wastewater collection system or a new wastewater management district?
  4. Can funds be sought to plan/engineer slip lining of an existing collection system where known environmental issues exist?
  5. Can more than one eligible municipality apply for the same joint project?
  6. Can I apply for both the New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant and the Green Innovations Grant Program (GIGP) with the same project in this round of funding?
  7. Can a municipality apply for a project that is already listed on the Intended Use Plan (IUP)?
  8. Can a municipality apply for a planning grant for a project that is already in the planning stage, but not on the IUP?
  9. I do not find the municipality I am interested in on the Census page to verify the median household income.
  10. What population and MHI data should an applicant use when submitting their application, (i.e., County, Town, City, Village or service area)?
  11. Are Indian Nations eligible?
  12. Can a municipality use State Funds as their cash match?
  13. What types of activities can be used as "in-kind services"?
  14. The municipality has an old sewer system and they want to do an analysis to determine what needs to be replaced and what is still functioning. Can this work be considered as "in-kind services?"
  15. The municipality that wants to apply for the grant and does not have a SPDES permit, but has failing septic systems. Can they still apply?
  16. Is there any obligation on the part of the municipality to go ahead with the project once the report has been approved?
  17. If a municipality cannot afford a municipal sewage treatment system, can the municipality explore a decentralized wastewater treatment option?
  18. If my application is selected to receive New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant financial assistance, what are the requirements necessary to execute an assistance agreement?
  19. If I receive funding from this grant will I have to conduct a SEQR review and a SHPO review?
  20. If a municipality is part of a sewer district, can the municipality apply for the grant?
  21. If a municipality wants to form a sewer district that would discharge wastewater to an existing county district, who should apply for the grant?

1. Are the funds only for planning activities?

Yes, the grant is to be used to fund Engineering Services for Planning. This includes the costs for preparation of an engineering report, as well as, funds to pay for environmental review services related to SEQR and obtaining SHPO approval for the proposed project. These activities (SEQR/SHPO) are required to produce and are in support of an approvable engineering report. The funding may not be used to pay for Engineering Services for Design or construction costs.

2. What types of projects is the funding intended to be used for?

The funds are for planning associated with publicly owned wastewater infrastructure projects. They are not intended for salt storage, stormwater or dam restoration projects.

3. Can funds be utilized to prepare a Map Plan & Report (MPR)/Engineers report for a new wastewater collection system or a new wastewater management district?

Yes, as long as the project is a publicly owned wastewater infrastructure project. A MPR is typically produced to support the creation of a new sewer district, so the local municipality would need to supply the local share (20%) to satisfy the grant condition.

4. Can funds be sought to plan/engineer slip lining of an existing collection system where known environmental issues exist?

Funds could be provided to prepare an engineering report for the slip lining project, however, costs would not be authorized for design services.

5. Can more than one eligible municipality apply for the same joint project?

If two or more municipalities have an agreement to pursue a project, they may apply for the grant. However, it would be most preferred if one municipality took the lead and applied for the grant. In any case, funding will be provided for the completion of one engineering report per project for a maximum of $50,000 per project. If the proposed cost for the planning exceeds $25,000, state Minority and Women's Business Enterprise (M/WBE) requirements apply.

6. Can I apply for both the New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant and the Green Innovations Grant Program (GIGP) with the same project in this round of funding?

No, The GIGP program requires submission of a Feasibility Report for a stormwater project. The New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant program is providing funding for the production of an engineering report for wastewater infrastructure.

7. Can a municipality apply for a project that is already listed on the Intended Use Plan (IUP)?

Municipalities with projects listed on the IUP Multi-year list are eligible to apply if an engineering report for the listed project does not exist. Projects listed on the CWSRF 2013 Intended Use Plan (IUP) Annual List, or already submitted to EFC for listing on the Annual List, are not eligible to apply for the New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant.

8. Can a municipality apply for a planning grant for a project that is already in the planning stage, but not on the IUP?

Yes, if a municipality has already commissioned the production of an engineering report for an eligible activity, and the project is not on the annual (2013) list, the report could qualify for consideration. However, if the value of the contract for Engineering Services exceeds $25,000, state Minority and Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) requirements apply. Information regarding MWBE requirements can be found at the web page: www.efc.ny.gov/mwbe.

MWBE Forms: MWBE/EEO Workplan; EEO Staffing Plan; EEO Policy Statement; MWBE Utilization Plan (http://www.efc.ny.gov/Default.aspx?TabID=76&fid=428)

MWBE Guidance Documents: Contract Language; Bid Packet for Service Providers; Goals (http://www.efc.ny.gov/Default.aspx?TabID=76&fid=429)

If the municipality is able to meet the other eligibility criteria, the report would need to be produced in a manner that meets the Engineering Report definitions in the DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant Program Overview (PDF, 189 KB).

9. I do not find the municipality I am interested in on the Census page to verify the median household income.

Directions (PDF, 110 KB) have been developed to help applicants navigate to their census data.

10. What population and MHI data should an applicant use when submitting their application, (i.e., County, Town, City, Village or service area)?

Cities and Villages should use municipal wide 2010 data.

Towns and Counties should use the 2010 Census data for the area that is being served. In cases where the service area has not been established, provide an estimate for the envisioned service area. Directions (PDF, 110 KB) have been developed to help applicants navigate to their census data.

11. Are Indian Nations eligible?

Yes, any Indian reservation wholly within New York State is eligible. Below is the definition of municipalities, which includes the reference to Indian reservations.

"Municipality - means any county, city, town, village, district corporation, county or town improvement district, Indian reservation wholly within New York State, any public benefit corporation or public authority established pursuant to the laws of New York or any agency of New York State which is empowered to construct and operate a project, or any two or more of the foregoing which are acting jointly in connection with a project. [Reference: 21 NYCRR 2602.2(a)(49) New York State Clean Water Revolving Fund Regulations]"

12. Can a municipality use State Funds as their cash match?

No, State (or federal) grants may not be used for local match. Match can include cash and/or in-kind services.

13. What types of activities can be used as "in-kind services"?

"In-kind services" can be eligible services performed by staff employed with the municipality and are necessary for the development of an engineering report, provided the applicant's staff are capable and qualified to provide the services. Field reconnaissance services and engineering services are acceptable as long as it is done under the direction of a NYS licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).

14. The municipality has an old sewer system and they want to do an analysis to determine what needs to be replaced and what is still functioning. Can this work be considered as "in-kind services?"

Yes, "In-kind services" can be eligible services performed by staff employed with the municipality and are necessary for the development of an engineering report, provided the applicant's staff are capable and qualified to provide the services. The plan must be written consistent with the DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant requirements. Field reconnaissance services and engineering services are acceptable as long as it is done under the direction of a NYS licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.).

15. The municipality wants to apply for a grant and does not have a SPDES permit, but has failing septic systems. Can they still apply?

Yes, eligible municipalities can apply for the DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning grant to develop a plan for constructing public collection and treatment systems that will eliminate failing septic systems.

16. Is there any obligation on the part of the municipality to go ahead with the project once the report has been approved?

No, however, projects where the municipality is obligated to implement the project under a consent order or SPDES permit may be required, as a condition of the enforcement order or SPDES Permit, to implement the recommendations of the engineering report. The intent of this grant program is to offer funding to allow municipalities to develop approvable engineering reports for the purpose of applying for CWSRF funding assistance, and then proceed to design and construction to address the identified water quality problem.

17. If a municipality cannot afford a municipal sewage treatment system, can the municipality explore a decentralized wastewater treatment option?

Yes, that is an option eligible for funding. Municipalities are encouraged and required to consider a decentralized approach to resolve the identified water quality problems. The engineering report must include consideration of a municipally owned decentralized wastewater system as a solution to the water quality issues.

18. If my application is selected to receive New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant financial assistance, what are the requirements necessary to execute an assistance agreement?

  1. Submit an executed Engineering Contract for Planning Services outlining the scope of work and budget for review and approval. If the Planning contract amount exceeds $25,000, it must contain state M/WBE requirements, or be modified to include these provisions. If the Planning will be undertaken directly by the municipality, a Technical Force Account must be submitted with a budgeted cost for services as well as a list of personnel assigned to the task.
  2. Complete State Environmental Review requirements for the Planning Grant. A municipal resolution would need to be passed declaring the SEQR for the planning activity (typically a Type II action - 6 NYCRR Part 617.5(21)), and the planning effort must be submitted to SHPO declaring the planning activity for the development of the engineering report does not negatively affect state historic resources.
  3. Submit a Budget for the planning project as well as a resolution identifying the local match (20%) for the grant.
  4. Submit a Resolution identifying the Authorized Representative to execute the grant agreement.
  5. Submit a completed MWBE Work Plan and Utilization Plan (and MWBE Waiver Request Form if applicable). The MWBE Work Plan and Utilization Plan are only applicable if the Engineering Contract for Planning Services exceeds $25,000. The MWBE Work Plan and Utilization Plan will need to be approved by EFC before an assistance agreement can be executed.

19. If I receive funding from this grant will I have to conduct a SEQR review and a SHPO review?

Yes, awardees have to complete both a SEQR and SHPO review for the planning activity. A municipal resolution would need to be passed declaring the SEQR for the planning activity (typically a Type II action - 6 NYCRR Part 617.5(21)), and the planning effort must be submitted to SHPO declaring the planning activity for the development of the engineering report does not negatively affect state historic resources The SEQR resolution and endorsement by SHPO must be completed before a grant agreement with EFC can be executed.

However, to be clear, the scope of work for the Planning Grant may include the costs to conduct an environmental review (SEQR and SHPO activities) for the proposed project identified in the engineering report. These project "environmental review requirements" are necessary to authorize approval and eligibility of the project under the CWSRF program to pursue financial assistance.

20. If a municipality is part of a sewer district, can the municipality apply for the grant?

Yes, a municipality that is part of a sewer district can apply for grant funding under the following conditions:

  • If a municipality is part of a sewer district and they own their wastewater infrastructure, but they discharge their wastewater to another district, then the municipality can apply and their eligibility is dependent upon their MHI.
  • If the municipality is part of a county district and the county district owns all of the wastewater infrastructure that serves that municipality, then the county would apply and the eligibility is dependent upon the county district's MHI.

21. If a municipality wants to form a sewer district that would discharge wastewater to an existing county district, who should apply for the grant?

If a municipality has not connected to a county or town sewer district, and neither owns its own wastewater infrastructure or wants to consider creating its own infrastructure, they cannot directly apply for the grant. They would need a "municipal sponsor" to apply on their behalf. The municipal sponsor would be the town or the county district that they are planning to connect with.