Category Archives: Water-related Infrastructure

On Virginia Water Radio for 6-12-17: Infrastructure’s in the Water and in the News

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of June 12, 2017, is “Infrastructure’s a Trillion Dollar Word.”  The 4 min./16 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/06/episode-372-6-12-17-infrastructures.html, focuses on the recent national news about infrastructure and on American Society of Civil Engineers “report cards” on the state of infrastructure in the United States and in Virginia.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund – Applications for Fiscal Year 2018 Due by July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017, is the deadline to apply to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for financial assistance in Fiscal Year 2018 through the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund (VCWRLF).  The DEQ’s Web site for the FY 2018 program is online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/FY2017AnnualSolicitation.aspx.

Here is an excerpt from that Web site:

“VCWRLF applications are being solicited for projects that involve improvements to publicly-owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities, installation of publicly-owned stormwater best management practices, projects for the remediation of contaminated brownfield properties and land conservation projects.  Eligible Brownfield loan recipients are units of local government, public service authorities, partnerships or corporations, and eligible land conservation recipients are state and local governments, public service authorities, and registered nonprofit organizations.

“Special consideration may be give to projects that meet the Green Project Reserve guidelines (online as a PDF at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/ConstructionAssistanceProgram/Green_Project_Reserve_Info.pdf?ver=2014-03-07-182359-110).

“Finally, we are also accepting applications for Living Shoreline projects.  Local governments (which are the only eligible applicants for this program) can either apply for financial assistance in order to directly establish living shorelines themselves or establish a local government funding program for individual citizens to establish living shorelines on their properties to protect or improve water quality.  We anticipate that the [State Water Control Board] should have over $100 million in funds available for distribution during FY 2018.  Should demand for good water quality or public health related projects exceed availability, these funds may be leveraged in the municipal bond market to increase the amount of assistance available.”

The DEQ expects to present a proposed funding list to the Virginia State Water Control Board in September or October 2017.

Application details are available online at the Web site listed above.  For more information, contact Walter Gills, Va. DEQ, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218; phone: (804) 698-4133; e-mail: walter.gills@deq.virginia.gov.

On Virginia Water Radio for 5-1-17: SERCAP’s Past and Present of Paying Attention to Rural Water and Wastewater Needs

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of May 1, 2017, is “SERCAP Continues a Rural Water and Wastewater Focus That Began in 1969.”  The 4 min./51 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/05/episode-366-5-1-17-sercap-continues.html, introduces the Roanoke-based organization whose work since 1969 in rural water, wastewater, and community development has been a model for similar organizations nationwide.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

Virginia Clean Water Financing Programs under the Va. Dept. of Environmental Quality, as of March 2017

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), on behalf of the State Water Control Board and with financial management by the Virginia Resources Authority, operates several water-quality financing programs under the collective term of the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund (VCWRLF).

Previously known as the Virginia Revolving Loan Fund, the VCWRLF began in 1987 with a focus only on low-interest loans to localities for wastwater system infrastructure improvements.  As of March 2017, the VCWRLF includes not only the Wastewater Loan Program but also the the Brownfield Loan Program, the Land Conservation Loan Program, the Stormwater Loan Program, the Living Shorelines Program, and the Water Quality Improvement Fund, and the Agricultural Best Management Practices Program (suspended indefinitely).

Information about these programs is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance.aspx; or by contacting Walter A. Gills, Program Manager, Department of Environmental Quality, Clean Water Financing & Assistance Program, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA  23218; phone (804) 698-4133; e-mail: Walter.Gills@deq.virginia.gov.

More information about the Virginia Resources Authority is available online at http://www.virginiaresources.org/.

“Water is Life” is the Theme of the Annual SERCAP Meeting and the Focus of the Organization’s Mission

April 19, 2017, was the date for the annual “Water is Life! Luncheon and Conference” held by the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc., or SERCAP, located in Roanoke, Va.

The 2017 event marked the 48th anniversary of SERCAP, whose mission is to help provide safe and adequate water and wastewater, community development, environmental health, and economic self-sufficiency to rural citizens in seven southeastern states: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  SERCAP is one of six rural community assistance projects in the United States.

More information about SERCAP and the annual luncheon/conference—at the Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center—is available online at http://www.sercap.org/, or contact SERCAP at 347 Campbell Avenue, Roanoke, VA 24016; phone (540) 345-1184.

Water for Tomorrow photo
“Water for Tomorrow,” an influential 1988 report on water and wastewater needs by locality in Virginia, was published by the Virginia Water Project, the predecessor to SERCAP.

Virginia’s and the Nation’s Infrastructure Gets Graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers – 2017 Edition

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a “report card” on the state of engineered infrastructure in the United States.  The report covers infrastructure in aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, school facilities, solid waste, transit, and wastewater.  The latest national report (as of March 13, 2017) gave a grade of D+, the same as the grade in 2013.  The report estimated the cost of making necessary infrastructure improvements at $4.59 trillion, compared to the 2013 estimate of $3.6 trillion.  The full national report for 2017 is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.  A chart of results from previous reports–back to 1998–is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/making-the-grade/report-card-history/.

According to the “What Makes a Grade” section  of the Report Card Web site, grades were assigned based on capacity to meet current and future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.  The grades are described as follows: A = exceptional; B = good; C = mediocre; D = poor; F = failing.

The 2017 national report also includes reports for each state.  As of 3/13/17, the Virginia assessment was a 2015 report compiled by the Virginia Section of the ASCE (ASCE-Va.).  The Virginia report is available at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/virginia/.  The Virginia report give the Commonwealth an overall grade of C- (compared to a D+ in 2009), and the following category grades: bridges = C; dams = C; drinking water = C; parks = C+; rail and transit = C-; roads = D; school facilities = C-; solid waste = B-; stormwater = C-; and wastewater = D+.

News item related to Virginia report in 2015: Virginia infrastructure earns grade of C-, Capital News Service, 1/21/15.

Other sources of information on infrastructure needs in Virginia and elsewhere:

National Bridge Inventory Database, online at http://nationalbridges.com/.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “CorpsMap—National Inventory of Dams, online at http://nid.usace.army.mil/cm_apex/f?p=838:12.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Clean Watesheds Needs Survey 2012 Report to Congress,” available online at https://www.epa.gov/cwns.  According to this Web site, this report is an “assessment of capital investment needed nationwide for publicly-owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities to meet the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (Fifth Report to Congress,” EPA 816-R-013-006, April 2013), available online at https://www.epa.gov/tribaldrinkingwater/drinking-water-infrastructure-needs-survey-and-assessment-fifth-report-congress.

Virginia Department of Transportation, “VTrans 2025: Virginia’s Statewide Multimodal Long-range Transportation Plan” (November 17, 2004): available online (as PDF) at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/vtrans/resources/revisedPhase3Reportforctb.pdf.

Virginia General Assembly joint subcommittee reports on school construction:
1) “Report on the Level of Assistance to Localities Necessary for Developing Adequate K-12 Schools Infrastructure,” House Document 5 for 2005 (published February 2005): available online at http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/a762cd2685f84d7a85256f030053196e/8e7c1e3d13b4f07185256ec500553c48?OpenDocument.

2) “K-12 School Infrastructure,” House Document 2 for2006 (published November 2005); available online at http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/a762cd2685f84d7a85256f030053196e/fec93d6935f5541285257082005f7768?OpenDocument.

Infrastructure cartoon

Cartoon that accompanied a February 2010 Virginia Water Central newsletter article on the 2009 infrastructure report by the American Society of Civil Engineers-Virginia Section.  Illustration by George Wills, Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt).

$4 Million in Community Development Block Grants Announced by Va. Governor’s Office on Feb. 6, 2017, Include Three Related to Water/Weather

On February 6, 2017, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that over $4 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) had been awarded to nine Virginia localities for 10 projects in economic-development, water/sewer infrastructure, and neighborhood revitalization projects.

The water- and weather-related grants included the following:
$879,760 to Appomattox County for relief work after the February 24, 2016, tornado;
$387,500 to Buchanan County for the Coon Branch waterline extension project;
$500,000 to the Northampton County town of Exmore for a well and water-treatment facility.

CDBG grants are federally funded, awarded competitively, administered in Virginia by the Department of Housing and Community Development, and designed to assist primarily low- and moderate-income communities.  More information about the CDBG program in Virginia is available online at http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/index.php/business-va-assistance/blighted-structures/community-development-block-grant-cdbg/10-community-development-block-grant-cdbg.html.

Source: Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $4 Million in Community Development Block Grants; Ten projects address community economic development, water and sewer service, local innovation, and urgent needs in nine localities, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 2/6/17.