ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 12, 2005) – A special zero percent interest rate loan program will further Maryland’s efforts to clean its waterways, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced today.
Known as the Non-Point Source Capital Program, the loan money can be used for the design and construction of projects that improve water quality in urban and suburban areas by restoring streams, creating wetlands and implementing other best management practices to improve local water quality.
“This program takes another step in helping local governments address non-point sources of pollution that threaten water quality,” Governor Ehrlich said. “Coupled with the Bay Restoration Fund, these dollars will go a long way toward addressing excess nutrients and pollution that endanger natural waters regardless of their size.”
Eligible types of projects include: stormwater management ponds and other stormwater management facilities, wetland creation or restoration, tree plantings, streetscapes, purchase of land or easements for water quality benefits and other public areas to increase the ability of soil to absorb rainfall and other non-point source water quality improvement projects.
Funds from the Water Quality Revolving Loan program, administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), will provide interest-free loans intended to increase the ability of local governments to implement these types of projects. The loan may be combined with other fund sources, such as local general funds, bond proceeds or fees, and federal, state and private grants.
“We are eager to speak with local governments about how to finance projects that will improve water quality, stream habitat, and enhance the quality of life in densely developed areas,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick.
Some jurisdictions, such as Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and Takoma Park have fees that are dedicated to stormwater management. These entities can use their local funds to pay annual debt service on the loan principal, thus making the local fees work harder and go farther for water quality improvements.
MDE is currently soliciting project pre-applications through February 2005, which will be rated and ranked and included on the Water Quality Revolving Loan program’s funding list. Funds will become available by the end of September. The agency anticipates $5 million to $7 million in non-point source loan requests annually. Currently, non-point source projects are funded with both state grants and low interest Water Quality Revolving Loan dollars.
Runoff from urban and suburban areas can carry trash, oil and rubber from cars, fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns, sediment from bare or poorly vegetated ground and other pollutants. That accumulation of non-point source pollution ultimately enters neighborhood streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay leading to degraded water quality and harming the Bay’s fragile ecology.
For more information about the Non-Point Source Capital Program call (410) 537-3119.