Senator Gillibrand of New York has put together a nice document outlining the various water and waste water funding programs funded by Congress.
What we want to explore is along the lines of the following under the auspices of the EPA:
Environmental Protection Agency
The mission of EPA is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment — air, water and land — upon which life depends. The EPA is divided into 10 regions than span from coast to coast in the United States. These regions are essential to the Agency’s success considering each part of the country has a specific environmental aspect that is necessary to preserving.
Although the EPA is divided throughout our country, the span of its funding opportunities reaches across each state. The EPA has created grants that apply to a number of issues to meet the needs of each of its applicants.
1) Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program
The Clean Water Act sets standards for performance levels of municipal sewage treatment plants to prevent the release of harmful waste into surface waters. Financial assistance is also provided to enable communities to construct treatment facilities which comply with EPA’s standards. The State Revolving Funds (SRF) are co-funded by the federal government (80%) and the state government (20%) and provide loan assistance in furtherance of Clean Water Act compliance. The SRF program provides assistance in constructing publicly owned municipal wastewater treatment plants, implementing nonpoint pollution management programs, and developing and implementing management plans under the National Estuary Program.
Clean Water SRFs may provide seven different types of assistance: making loans; buying or refinancing existing local debt obligations; guaranteeing or purchasing insurance for local debt obligations; guaranteeing SRF debt obligations; providing loan guarantees for sub-state revolving funds; earning interest on fund accounts; and supporting reasonable costs of administering the SRF. States cannot use SRFs as a source of grants. Loans are provided at or below market interest rates, including possible zero interest loans (exact rates are negotiated by the applicant and state SRF).
Eligible loan recipients are any municipality, intermunicipal, interstate or state agency. Projects or activities eligible for loans are those needed for constructing or upgrading publicly owned municipal wastewater treatment plants. Devices and systems used in the storage, treatment, recycling, and reclamation of municipal sewage are eligible, including construction or upgrading of secondary or advanced treatment plants; construct6ion of new collector sewers, interceptor sewers or storm sewers; and projects to correct existing problem of sewer system rehabilitation, infiltration/inflow of sewer lines, and combined sewer overflows. Operation and maintenance is not an eligible activity.
Sea Island, being a private corporation does not qualify. What we want to argue (I think) is that the St Simons plant, which sits in the flood plain, should go to “advanced” treatment, as well as correcting infiltration problems in the collection system. Since we don’t have necessary info about Sea Island, there should be NO MORE CONNECTIONS until the system has been inspected and assessed and incorporated into the planning process. After we get a little more information, we can get on the JWSC agenda and recommend just that. We’ll have to prepare a written precis with history and objectives that can be handed out to the press because the press has to be fed.
Since our system of government is set up so that nobody can be forced to do anything, only prevented from doing wrong again, the federal government, the source of all dollars, has set up a system of bribes, which are commonly referred to as “strings.” Subordinate governmental bodies are eager to have funds, but they do not like the strings. What local poobahs want is the money without the obligation to carry out the objectives. The “no taxes” mantra is designed to promote the notion that the feds are not the source of dollars, which they are. Why promote that false notion? Because, if the feds as the source of funds is admitted, then the imposition of ‘strings’ is entirely logical. Especially our southern states are keen to do without funds, if it means they don’t have to kowtow. It’s an easy stance for poobahs to take because it’s not their lunch that’s going to waste.
Really, I’m sorry to be so long-winded. But, the first step towards getting what we want is deciding what that is. What we don’t want is easier to define but harder to achieve, because there are always so many alternatives.
You don’t like eight houses on the spit. Would you like four or three or a condo with eight units all on one spot? Would you like an array of tennis courts or putting greens? Would you like a fishing pier and parking lot in the vicinity of the groin? You see? You don’t want any of that. Demanding the upgrade of the plant will put a stop to all other plans and, because time is money, promote the designation of the spit to conservation upon some agreed upon compensation. Sometimes, ulterior motives are useful. I saved a whole neighborhood from going to the banksters by making the city develop a historic preservation plan. The people didn’t want to move and the city couldn’t acquire their property by eminent domain for urban renewal unless they considered preservation first.