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Environmental Loans (EL) Land ownership and easement rights

Land ownership and easements documentation is required for both Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) and Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) projects. The loan applicant must submit to DNR a legal statement or opinion from the applicant's attorney on land ownership and easement rights.

Land ownership documentation

If an applicant already owns the land on which the project will be located, the applicant must submit to DNR a statement or an opinion from their attorney stating:

  1. the applicant will own and control the land on which the project will be constructed for the entire loan term;
  2. the land for the project will be owned and controlled by the applicant prior to the start of construction; and
  3. the project will take place within the boundaries of the land owned and controlled by the applicant.

Easements and rights-of-way documentation

If it is necessary for an applicant to obtain or maintain easements for the property on which the project will be constructed, the applicant must submit to DNR a statement or an opinion from their attorney stating:

  1. all easement rights have been secured for property on which the project will take place; and
  2. the easement rights are for at least the loan term (preferably in perpetuity).

Title opinion documentation

If a municipality fails to obtain a legal opinion or statement on the proof of land ownership from an attorney, Environmental Loans requires a title opinion on the proof of land availability.

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Land purchase documentation

If an applicant requests CWFP/SDWLP monies for a land purchase (see below), they must submit to DNR a copy of the title or warranty deed for land purchased and a statement or an opinion from their attorney stating:

  1. the applicant has ownership interest and control of the land on which the project will be constructed for a period of at least 20 years;
  2. the land availability is not terminable by some other party or event outside of the control of the applicant;
  3. the land is available for the project prior to the start of construction; and
  4. the property purchased is clear of liens.

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Cost eligiblity of land purchase

Land purchase is an eligible cost if the land is an integral part of an eligible CWFP or SDWLP project.

Eligible land costs

Eligible land costs include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • Acquisition of land that will be used for storage of treated wastewater in land treatment systems before land application.
  • Acquisition of land that will be used for composting or temporary storage of compost residues that result from wastewater treatment if the department has approved a program for use of the compost.
  • Acquisition of land on which the structural urban BMP, treatment plant, biosolids facility, or lift stations will be located; including urban corridors needed to support integrated systems of treatment works or structure urban BMP's for urban runoff.
  • Acquisition of buffer areas, especially in urban areas, and landscaping for the buffer areas.
  • Acquisition of land that is an integral part of the treatment process and is from a willing seller [EPA Final Guidelines] for a Safe Drinking Water Loan Program project.
  • Administrative and legal costs for acquisition of rights-of-way and easements.

Ineligible land costs

Ineligible land costs include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Any portion of the acquisition costs determined to be excessive.
    • Note: certified appraisals may be required to determine reasonableness of costs.
  • Cost related to leasing land or buildings.
  • Acquisition expenses related to land not integral to the approved project.

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Legal costs

Legal costs associated with certifying the adequacy of an applicant's ownership of the project site is an allowable cost if the land is eligible under ch. NR 162 or 166, Wis. Adm. Code.

If, for any reason, the legal opinion is for land deemed ineligible under ch. NR 162 or 166, Wis. Adm. Code, the costs of this opinion are likewise ineligible, or prorated as appropriate.

Last revised: Thursday June 29 2017