Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner David Salyers today announced a loan for $886,000 for the Town of Bell Buckle to improve water infrastructure.
In 2019, Smyrna, TN received a low interest loan of approximately $3 million for clean water infrastructure improvements. Nearby Lebanon got the green light for $5.7 million to address their water infrastructure.
This year, Bell Buckle is one of two loan recipients approved by the Tennessee Local Development Authority. The second recipient is the Hamilton County Waste Water Treatment Authority. Both loans total $11.6 million.
"We are pleased to provide these funds through the State Revolving Fund Loan Program," Lee said. "This program shows our commitment to modernizing infrastructure across the state."
"This loan program allows us to assist communities in a significant way," Salyers said. "We look forward to the improvements that will result from this action."
The Bell Buckle loan comes from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program. It will replace the Webb Water Storage Tank. The loan consists of 100 percent principal forgiveness in the amount of $886,000.
The loan is associated with a pilot project to develop asset management plans for small community water infrastructure systems. It will include demonstration and education components aimed at helping small communities meet planning needs. Asset management plans are a critical component of successful long-term infrastructure performance. TDEC is exploring such pilot projects through the State Revolving Fund loan process as a way to promote community leadership and development of shared solutions to significant water infrastructure challenges.
SRF Director Dr. Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler hopes the pilot projects can become a model for others operating utilities in Tennessee.
"TDEC is excited to promote the use of new technologies and solutions to a limited number of small and disadvantaged communities willing to document and demonstrate project benefits," Gillespie-Marthaler said.
Those communities will receive principal forgiveness, in part, from their in-kind work monitoring project outcomes and sharing the information for the benefit of others. The effort will support TDEC's mission to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Tennessee and to be stewards of the environment.
The loan for the Hamilton County Waste Water Treatment Authority is for $10,671,200 from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program.
Through the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities can obtain loans with lower interest rates than through private financing. These low interest rate loans can vary from zero percent to below market rate, based on each community's economic health.
This fiscal year, TDEC has awarded $2,371,100 in drinking water loans and $110,971,200 in clean water loans to meet the state's infrastructure needs. During fiscal year 2019, TDEC awarded $13,345,300 in drinking water loans and $83,324,500 in clean water loans for a total of $96,669,800.
Tennessee's Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $2 billion in low-interest loans since its inception in 1987. The state's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $300 million in low-interest loans since its inception in 1996