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Environmental Loans (EL) Storm water projects

In order to be eligible for funding from the Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP), storm water projects must be primarily for water quality purposes.

Eligibility and purpose

A municipality receiving financial assistance from the Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) for a storm water project must have a need to control storm water runoff rates, volumes, and discharge quality as required by any of the following:

  • A WPDES storm water permit issued under subch. 1 of ch. NR 216;
  • A performance standard; and/or
  • A plan approved by the department under s. 281.41, Stats., or a storm water management plan.

Ineligible projects

Projects intended solely for drainage and flood control; dams; pipes; conveyance systems and structural urban best management practices, including storm sewer rerouting and land acquisition; then the projects are ineligible for CWFP assistance. In order to be eligible, a storm water project must be primarily for water quality purposes.

For a complete description of eligibility, please read ch. NR 162 or the CWFP eligilbility index.

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Performance Standards

Means nonagricultural performance standards established by the department in ch. NR 151, pursuant to s. 281.16(2), Stats.

Structural Urban Best Management Practice (BMP)

A "structural urban best management practice" or "structural urban BMP" means a practice that is determined to be an effective means of preventing or reducing pollutants generated from urban runoff, including land acquisition, storm sewer rerouting and the removal of structures.

Urban Runoff

Means snowmelt, ice-melt, precipitation and surface drainage conveyed from an urban land use in either a diffuse manner, as a nonpoint source, or as a point source conveyance regulated under ch. NR 216.

WPDES Permit

Means a Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit issued under ch. 283, Stats.

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Storm water application process

Application guidance and considerations are available under the "How to Apply" tab on the EL landing page.

In order to start the application process for an Environmental Loan, you need to complete these steps:

  1. Identify and define the storm water "problem" that needs to be corrected or prevented.
    • This process generally involves a joint effort of the municipality, a consulting engineer, and the DNR engineer in your area.
  2. A notice of Intent to Apply/Priority Evaluation and Ranking Formula (ITA/PERF) must be submitted online to DNR for each project for which you will be seeking an environmental loan.
    • October 31 is the submittal deadline for all ITAs/PERFs for the following state fiscal year (SFY) funding cycle.
    • All ITAs/PERFs must be submitted annually online because they will only be valid for one state fiscal year (7/1 - 6/30).
    • Exception: Projects that applied for Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management or Targeted Run-off Management grants can substitute that application for the ITA if the proper box on the grant application form is checked.
  3. A plan approved by the department, e.g., Storm Water Management Plan, must be reviewed and approved prior to submitting a financial assistance application. Applicants should submit:
  4. Storm Water Plans and Specifications are needed for review, and must be submitted in an approvable state prior to or concurrent with the application submittal. Applicants should submit:
  5. A "market rate cost calculation [exit DNR]" must be developed and submitted for review.
    • Subsidized interest rates apply to water quality and existing development components of a project.
    • Market rates apply to portions of each project determined to be solely for flood control and for development not in existence at the time of the application.
    • "Parallel cost percentage" means the proportion of project costs eligible for below-market rate financing relative to the total project cost eligible for Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) financing. The parallel cost percentage may include project costs eligible for a reduced interest rate (i.e., 55%, 65%, or 70% of the market rate); and/or a 0% interest rate (i.e., those incremental costs related to septage receiving and treatment).
  6. A Financial Assistance Application must be submitted online to DNR for each project for which you will be seeking an environmental loan.
  7. Your project will be assigned to a project manager who will advise you on the best financial strategy for your situation and guide you through the process of closing on a loan.

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User charge system, ordinances, & regulations

Storm water projects have slightly different requirements for a User Charge System (UCS) and related ordinances. A UCS is only required for storm water projects that either:

  1. receive a loan collateralized by a utility Revenue pledge, or
  2. require an intermunicipal agreement.

Projects supported by a municipal General Obligation pledge are not required to submit a UCS.

For urban runoff treatment works or structural urban BMP projects, each municipality is required to adopt local regulations for construction sites, and adopt a municipal storm water management plan and ordinance for new development and redevelopment, both consistent with the performance standards and with model ordinances developed by the department under s. 281.33(4), Stats. (Application: NR 162.06(2)3; and, Financial Assistance requirements: 162.07(7).) Ordinances must be in place before funding is awarded.

Contact information
Direct questions about storm water projects to:
Becky Scott

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Last revised: Wednesday July 03 2019