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Idaho DEQ Blog

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

DEQ Grants and Loans Program streamlines environmental reviews, saving time and money

May 16, 2018

By DEQ Grants and Loans Program

DEQ's Grants and Loans Program conducted a kaizen in May 2016 to streamline environmental reviews and reduce applicant costs. Since then, the program and its grant and loan recipients have seen a successful impact on the application process for DEQ-funded water and wastewater projects.

A kaizen is an effort to make continuous and incremental improvements by evaluating working practices and efficiency to improve productivity or performance. Under the new streamlined process, applicants have noticed rapid turnaround time for project reviews, which has resulted in early project completion and significant cost savings.

Southside Water and Sewer District's drinking water project is a great example. As a direct result of the kaizen process, the entire project planning process, including environmental work, was completed in just under 18 months, compared to the average 26 months. In addition, $13,643 remained of the $40,100 grant, a 34% savings in grant funds.

The kaizen methodology has built bridges between consultants, DEQ, and communities, achieving the primary goal of becoming as efficient as possible while eliminating duplicative steps and reducing process time.



DEQ provides funding opportunities for drinking water and wastewater systems

October 19, 2016

By Aimee Hill, Outreach and Environmental Coordinator, Grants and Loans

Each year, DEQ provides funding opportunities, in the form of grants or loans, to certain eligible drinking water and wastewater systems that are contributing to public health issues. These funds can be used to improve water quality or address infrastructure challenges.

Planning grants provide up to 50% of the cost of project design and construction planning activities (with the grantee providing a matching share from local sources). Grants awarded under this program must be used entirely to prepare facility plans that identify the most cost-effective, environmentally sound methods to upgrade eligible water and wastewater systems to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. 

DEQ’s loan funds provide low-interest funding—up to 100% of project costs—to design and construct system improvements. Loans also may be awarded to address nonpoint source pollution control activities such as pollutant trading, upgrading or replacing individual septic tanks, restoring wetlands, treating and controlling stormwater, and addressing agricultural runoff. Repayment terms are between 20 and 30 years, and a portion of the loan repayment may be waived.

Do you know a system that may be interested? 

The first step is for a system to call and discuss with the local DEQ regional office staff any issues it may be facing. Next, the system should notify DEQ in writing by submitting a letter of interest (LOI) form to DEQ by January 13, 2017. The LOI form is available here or the DEQ regional offices. Even if a system is on the current (2017) priority list, it still must submit the LOI form for the upcoming year (2018).

After the LOI submission deadline, projects are rated using standardized criteria. All rated systems are then comparatively ranked with other systems around the state. The rankings are compiled in the DEQ grant and loan priority lists. These lists help DEQ determine which projects we can provide financial assistance to, as the demand currently exceeds available funds. Those systems that rank highest and are ready to proceed are notified that they are eligible to apply for a grant or loan at the beginning of the next fiscal year (July 1, 2017). The map below shows the total funding by county over the past 15 years.

To learn more about the LOI process, access the forms, and find your regional office contact, visit the Drinking Water and Wastewater Grants and Loans Letter of Interest Forms for FY 18 webpage.

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