Funding Options for Indiana Drinking Water Projects

Communities often want to upgrade their drinking water capacity but are limited by available finances. There are loan and grant options available, which allow for projects to be completed in a timely manner. 

The funding agencies are aware of the challenges that small towns face. When grants are involved the agency focuses on the financial impact a project will have for a community. When a town chooses a loan option, agencies provide repayment terms that allow for a community to pay back the loan so that residents aren’t drastically impacted with their monthly utility bills. 

The items below represent grant and loan options where Region 3-A can provide technical assistance to a community in getting a drinking water project funded.

OCRA 

Wastewater/Drinking Water Program 

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs offers funding for drinking water projects under their wastewater/drinking water program. The funds for this program come from the federal level under Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funds come to the state as a community development block grant. The state through OCRA disburses the funds to projects that meet eligibility requirements. Communities must submit a grant application to OCRA for consideration. The grant applications are competitive. They typically have two rounds of funding per year. Below is OCRA’s matrix for determining the maximum grant amount available for a project. The local match requirement is at least 20% of the project cost.

Urgent Need 

OCRA can fund projects under the urgent need designation. 

There are two criteria that need to be met for OCRA to consider a project under this designation. 

  1. The project must address an emergency situation
  2. The community must demonstrate that no other means of paying for the project exist and that OCRA funds are the only option. 

Based on information presented at OCRA continuing education events they have stated this designation has only been used once in the last 40 years.

State Revolving Fund

 The State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Programs provide low-interest loans to Indiana communities for projects that improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. The Program’s mission is to provide eligible entities with the lowest interest rates possible on the financing of such projects while protecting public health and the environment. 

SRF also funds non-point source projects that are tied to a wastewater loan. Currently, SRF’s rates are in the low two-percent range.

USDA

Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program

  • Loan term as long as 40 years
  • Low interest rates
  • Typically, a loan program, but some of the funds can be used as grant dollars to keep user costs reasonable

Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants

  • Up to $500,000 available to construct water source, intake or treatment facility
  • Up to $150,000 available to construct waterline extensions, or repair breaks or leaks
  • No funds available currently

National Rural Water Association Rural Water Loan Fund

Eligible projects include planning costs, replacing equipment, system upgrades, and disaster recovery.

  • Loan amount up $100,000 or 75% of the total project cost
  • Interest rate of 3% and a 10-year term
  • Emergency loans are 90-day no interest, and immediate turn around on applications

EPA – Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act

Eligible projects include drinking water treatment and distribution, alternative water supply, water recycling projects, and enhanced energy efficiency at drinking water facilities.

  • A single fixed interest rate is established at closing
  • Interest rate is not impacted by the borrower’s credit or loan structure
  • Customized repayment schedules
  • Long repayment period
  • Deferred payment – Up to five years
  • Subordination
  • Loans can be combined with various funding sources
  • More Information

If you’re looking for more information on available water funding, contact us at region3a@region3a.org to learn about the best options for your community.

COVID-19 Regional Planning and Recovery

As a regional unit of government serving Northeast Indiana, our sole imperative has always been to support the advancement of Northeast Indiana. We have assisted with many community, economic development, transportation and housing projects throughout the region. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are working on ways to help our community heal, help area businesses, and assist with economic growth to keep our region moving forward. 

Point of Contact

Region 3A has also served as a regional liaison to many state and federal agencies, providing an efficient single point of contact for 6 counties and 32 municipalities. As an agency governed by local county and municipal officials, Region 3A is here to support development and rehabilitation needs. 

Reliable Information 

Our promise to the counties that we serve is that we will always be informed with accurate and up-to-date information on emerging federal, state, local and private sector business support initiatives and programs, and available as a source for information. Now more than ever, we encourage businesses and organizations to reach out to explore options for grants and assistance under our services offerings. 

Relief and Moving Forward 

Region 3A is developing a plan with local and regional organizations to provide information and help our community receive short-term relief and assistance. We are here to help residents navigate the quick changes of available resources, provide necessary details, and meet deadlines for upcoming relief funding. 

If you would like more information on relief funding for businesses as it becomes available, please reach out to us at region3a@region3a.org.

EDA Accepting Applications for CARES Act Grant Funding

The Economic Development Administration has begun taking applications for their funding opportunity (NOFO) CARES Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law by President Trump on March 27 to provide the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” 

CARES Act Funding

This program will fund eligible economic development projects 80% and up to 100% under certain conditions. Eligible applicants include local governmental entities, institutions of higher educa­tion, not for-profit entities, and federally recognized Tribes. 

EDA Requirements

The EDA’s requirements are that projects must have a commercial/industrial benefit, and that multiple current or incoming businesses benefit from the project. 

Here are the types of projects that the EDA has funded in recent years:

  • Infrastructure – Water and sewer
  • Industrial parks – New or expansion of existing
  • Workforce training facilities
  • Business incubators
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Technology-based facilities
  • Multi-tenant manufacturing facilities
  • Science and research parks
  • Telecommunications infrastructure and development facilities
  • Revolving loan funds     
  • Economic diversification
  • Travel and tourism marketing campaigns

The above projects are examples of projects that will be funded, but it is not limited to these types of projects. Projects that specifically address COVID-19 issues, or a project that would allow for resiliency from this pandemic, would have a great opportunity to receive funding.

Applications for the CARES Act

The EDA will award grants to successful applications on a rolling basis. EDA began accepting applications on May 7, 2020 and will deploy its CARES Act funding as quickly, effectively, and efficiently as possible, and in a manner that meets the needs of these communities. 

Funding for eligible projects available on a “first come, first served” basis, so communities and organizations seeking funding should act fast. 


Contact us at region3a@region3a.org for more information on how to get your application started. For information and frequently asked questions regarding the CARES Act, visit the FAQs page of the EDA website.

Town of Ashley Indiana Awarded EDA Grant Funding

The Region 3-A team worked with the town of Ashley Indiana for more than a year to help them achieve EDA grant funding for infrastructure at the site of the new Brightmark Energy plant. We’re pleased to announce that earlier this week, Ashley Indiana was notified that they will receive a $1.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration.

The EDA grant will help complete infrastructure projects to service the Brightmark Energy project that is under construction. Brightmark is going to use a patented process to convert waste plastics into fuel and industrial wax at their new 114,000 sq. ft. facility.

As a result, the 136 jobs are expected to be created within the new facility, along with opportunities for construction and infrastructure work as well throughout the project.

About The Project 

The Town of Ashley approached Region 3-A for assistance in EDA funding after Brightmark became the controlling owner of RES Polyflow. Our role was to help the community leverage their resources and ensure that all of the information and criteria is provided so that they could get the most funding available.

Steuben County provided a loan guarantee to Ashley of up to $1.5 million for the project, much of which will go toward matching funds. The town has set aside $1 million in tax increment financing money. Some of that financing money will pay for right of way acquisition and engineering fees.

About EDA Grant Funding

The EDA grant provides a 50/50 match of grant funding for infrastructure projects. However, it can more or less depend on economic factors. Private investment and community investment go a long way in making potential infrastructure projects come to fruition. If you’re interested in learning more about EDA Grant funding and how to best use the resources available to your town, contact us at region3a@region3a.org

Transportation Activities – Spring 2020

Traffic count activities for 2020 started on March 9. The Region collects traffic count data on a three-year rotation basis with collection taking place in two counties each year.

Traffic Count Counties 2020

This year’s traffic counts will take place in Wabash and Huntington Counties. We started this year with railroad crossing counts. There are 54 rail crossings in Wabash County, and 31 in Huntington County to be collected. This data is given to INDOT which then distributes it to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The data is used by our planning partners to improve safety at railroad crossings.

Region 3-A also does local traffic counts on non-state and federal highways.  Staff will collect data at 40 locations in both Wabash and Huntington Counties.  The data is submitted to the State’s statistical group and is then attached to a webmap. This information is combined with traffic counts submitted by the INDOT District and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO’s) to complete all the counts that INDOT requires for a given year.  This website is available to the public.

If you have questions about this information or the data presented, please contact Dave Gee at 260-347-4714, or at dgee@region3a.org.   

The County Engineers or Highway Superintendents are given 15 discretionary traffic counts to help with their planning efforts. This traffic count data allows for tracking of trends, and possible development in areas of the respective county.

Accident Studies

This year we will also complete two accident studies. Accident studies involve a review of high accident locations.  A meeting is requested with the County Sheriff and County Engineers or Highway Superintendents to evaluate the areas in question. From there, one area is determined to be problematic; traffic counts are conducted, and a report is produced. These reports can then be advanced to a Safety Audit for possible remediation.

Region 3-A staff is also available for technical help with Community Crossing Applications, and Corridor and Traffic Impact Studies.