BURRILLVILLE – Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank has announced the forgiveness of more than $3 million in financing and loans for safe drinking water upgrade projects for five small and community water system providers across the state, including $195,000 for the Pascoag Utility District.
The projects are being financed via the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, which provides below-market interest rate loans to community public water systems, nonprofit non-community public water systems, privately organized water suppliers, and local governmental units to complete water infrastructure projects.
Included is forgiveness to PUD of a loan for the replacement of public and private lead service lines.
PUD General Manager Michael Kirkwood said that the district has already begun replacement of the lines, with the first four or five complete. The company had to act quickly to replace lines on Sayles Avenue, where a street repaving project was also underway.
The 17 lead lines still remaining in the PUD system will be replaced by the end of the summer thanks to the funding.
Kirkwood noted that water companies throughout the state apply to the Rhode Island Department of Health for the loans, which are then ranked according to priority.
“Having the state designate us for complete loan forgiveness- that’s very unusual,” Kirkwood said. “It mean it won’t cost our customers a cent.”
“Rhode Island’s many smaller water systems often lack the broad base of rate payers to finance needed, but often expensive, system upgrade projects on their own,” said Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank CEO Jeffrey Diehl. “That’s why the Infrastructure Bank is pleased to offer low-cost financing and loan forgiveness through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to allow our state’s smaller water system providers to make the investments needed to ensure the continued supply of safe drinking water.”
The work is among several recent upgrades to the system, which serves roughly 1,100 water customers in the village. Last year, the company received a roughly $900,000 grant and a $1 million loan from United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development to complete Phase 3 of a four-year water improvement project.
“The grant money that we’ve been getting these last few years is incredible,” Kirkwood said.
Since the inception of the DWSRF, the Infrastructure Bank has reportedly provided $450 million in loans to Rhode Island’s public water systems.
Additional projects are listed below.
$106,000 in DWSRF loan forgiveness to the Hog Island North Drinking Water System in Portsmouth for a water tank replacement.
Up to $1 million in DWSRF loan forgiveness to Paige Associates in Coventry for storage tank, pumphouse, and distribution system upgrades.
$936,721 in DWSRF loan forgiveness to the Charlestown Cedars in Charlestown for distribution system upgrades.
$810,000 in DWSRF financing with up to $200,000 in loan forgiveness to the Foster-Glocester Regional School District for the South Booster Pump Station Project at Ponaganset High School.