This page lists funding opportunities for facility improvements to wastewater or water treatment plants. It is directed towards Illinois communities that are looking for more funding to implement improvements that will make their water and wastewater facilities more energy efficient and sustainable.
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Government Grants, Loans, and Assistance
Funding organization: US Department of Energy and Illinois EPA
Description: Illinois EPA has partnered with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Accelerator to help connect Illinois wastewater facilities to a national network of energy efficiency knowledge. SWIFt works to share best practices among wastewater facilities to accelerate a pathway toward sustainable wastewater infrastructure. Illinois EPA’s hope for SWIFt partnership is that lessons learned at a wastewater plant elsewhere can be applied to avoid mistakes at a similarly situated Illinois facility.
SWIFt also aims to catalyze the adoption of innovative and best-practice approaches in financing for infrastructure improvement. For more information on SWIFt, visit the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings website at: https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/ accelerators/wastewater-infrastructure
Eligibility: Publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities that have received an energy assessment within the last five years.
Funding range: $5,000 to $500,000
Due date: Currently closed. Stay tuned for future funding opportunities
Contact: Chad Kruse, Manager, Illinois EPA Office of Energy (312-814-5956 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Funding organization: USDA Rural Development
Description: The USDA Rural Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) provide funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. Depending on the project, financing is grants or long-term, low interest loans. The program provides funding for technical assistance, emergency community water assistance grants, rural decentralized water systems grants, individual water and wastewater grants, revolving funds for financing projects, evaluation assistance for rural communities, solid waste management grants, water and waste disposal loans and grants to alleviate health risks, planning grants, and technical assistance and training grants.
Eligibility: Areas that may be served include rural areas and towns with populations of 10,000 or less.
How to apply: The funds are administered through a National Office and a network of field staff in each State. Find your local Rural Development office here or contact the State Community Programs Director: (217) 403-6228 or email@example.com
Organization: Illinois EPA
Description: The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency seeks applications for energy efficiency projects from Illinois publicly owned wastewater treatment works that have received an energy efficiency assessment within the last five years. If the energy efficiency assessment yielded recommendations for projects that improve energy efficiency at a wastewater treatment plant (“WWTP”), then the facility may be eligible for funding through the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program (Dept. of Energy SEP), which is administered by the Illinois EPA Office of Energy. Awards are granted on a competitive basis. Illinois EPA will prioritize and select the most impactful projects, ranked according to multiple factors, including, but not limited to, energy savings resulting from each award dollar funded (kWh/$) and considerations such as the energy rate paid by the facility and the energy cost per million gallons of water treated. Applicants must submit an application and a project plan for the energy efficiency upgrade project(s) that they would like considered for funding.
Funding per award: $20,000 to $500,000
Due date: Another round of funding will open in fall 2022
Contact: Amy Roderick, Project Manager, Office of Energy, 217-785-2892 or Amy.Roderick@illinois.gov
Description: The Wastewater/Stormwater and Drinking Water loan programs provide low-interest loans through the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF). The Water Pollution Control Loan Program (WPCLP) funds both wastewater and stormwater projects. This program is annually the recipient of federal capitalization funding which is combined with state matching funds, interest earnings, repayment funds, and the sale of “AAA” rated bonds to form a perpetual source of financing for infrastructure projects. More information can be found on the Illinois EPA’s website.
Contact: 217-782-2027 or Gary Bingenheimer, Section Manager at Gary.Bingenheimer@illinois.gov
Description: The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) offers a variety of products for local governments to finance essential purpose infrastructure projects, including its Local Government Financing Assistance Program and Local Government Direct Bond Purchase Program.
The IFA Local Government Financing Assistance Program provides financing to units of local government located in the State of Illinois by purchasing the securities of the local governments on a conduit basis. Interest earnings on Local Government Program Revenue Bonds issued by IFA for Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) are exempt from both federal and state income taxes for Illinois investors, thereby reducing WWTP cost of capital.
The IFA Local Government Direct Bond Purchase Program, whereby IFA will allocate unencumbered treasury funds to purchase certain Bonds, is designed primarily to serve non-rated units of local government that have a small WTTP project located in a community lacking its own commercial bank. WTTP projects that are ineligible or only partially eligible for Illinois’s Environmental Protection Agency State Revolving Fund Loan Programs can be financed with IFA’s Local Government Direct Bond Purchase Program.
The IFA will work directly with the WWTP to obtain the most cost-effective financing for the project. For more information, visit the IFA’s website or contact Brad Fletcher, Vice President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Private Grants or Assistance
Organization: Rural Community Assistance Program
Description: The Rural Community Assistance Program is a national not-for-profit working in all fifty states. RCAP offers assistance to rural communities with their water and wastewater systems by bringing in expertise in Managerial and Technical Assistance. Some of the services RCAP offers are:
- asset management
- grant writing assistance
- hands on training for operators
- water and sewer rate analysis
- training for local officials.
RCAP offers these services at no cost to communities.
Learn more: For more information about the program and to see how RCAP can assist, please reach out to James Meece, at 217-358-2143 or at email@example.com
Organization: Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation
Description: Combined Heat and Power (CHP) experts at the U.S. DOE Midwest CHP TAP can help you determine if CHP is worth a closer look for your facility, both technically and financially. The first step is talking through a series of screening questions, combined with a first-cut qualification assessment of the economic and technical viability of CHP at your site, using basic site information. The Midwest CHP TAP will help you evaluate if energy costs, thermal loads, site operating hours, and other key site characteristics show potential for a good, cost-effective CHP project. All the work provided by the Midwest CHP TAP is complimentary.
To begin your CHP Qualification Screening with the Midwest CHP TAP please contact Graeme Miller at 312-996-3711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding organization: Illinois Clean Energy Foundation
Description: The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has a grant program for improvements to publicly owned and operated wastewater treatment facilities that have a path to net-zero energy. This includes grants of up to $500,000 per grant cycle for facilities that make a commitment to move to achieve and maintain site net-zero energy performance, make the energy performance publicly available, and provide public access for educational purposes.
Eligible entities: Publicly owned and operated wastewater treatment facilities. Must be designed and scheduled to operate on a 24/7/365 basis.
Maximum amount: Up to $500,000 per grant cycle. Projects over $1 million may be considered for funding beyond the $500,000.
Due date: July 21, 2022
Contact: Call 312-372-5191 to learn more and discuss the project before beginning the application.
Funding organization: Illinois Municipal Electric Agency
Description: The Illinois Municipal Electric Agency offers an Electric Efficiency Program for Public-Sector Projects. This program consists of several categories of rebates for improving the energy efficiency of a site. These categories include Lighting, Compressors and compressed air nozzles for 40hp and smaller compressed air systems, Refrigeration, Variable Speed Drives (or VFDs) for HVAC Pumps and Motors, Commercial Programmable Thermostats, and Custom Projects. They also have programs for Power Factor Correction, Enhanced incentives for Exterior LED Lighting, Small Solar Generation, and Small Wind Generation for IMEA Member Municipal Facilities Only.
Contact: 217-789-4632 or at email@example.com
Funding organization: ComEd
Description: Whether water or wastewater is your primary business or it’s just one component of your operations, ComEd can help you begin saving money and energy. Incentives are available for aeration, pumping, anaerobic digestion and more. Get incentives worth 21 cents per kWh saved on high-efficiency blowers, aeration diffusers and controls, or receive a fully funded comprehensive energy study of your water/wastewater treatment plant.
Eligible entities: ComEd customesr
The Ameren Illinois Rebate Program offers rebates for energy efficiency improvements that save electricity. Categories of rebates include Lighting, HVAC, Water Heating, Specialty Equipment, Water-Saving Devices, Variable Frequency Drives, New Construction, Retro Commissioning, Compressed Air Leak Survey & Repair, and Custom Projects. More information and applications can be found here.
Lighting upgrade rebate programs include the Instant Incentive Program and the Small Business Direct Install (SBDI) Program. Instant Incentives are available through their online store with quantity limits, or through authorized distributors without quantity limits. The SBDI is available through specific trade allies which includes the assessment of lighting equipment needed and a project quote including installation. The SBDI program has higher incentive levels; the incentives may cover up to 100% of the material and labor costs. There is no additional incentive paperwork or incentive handling as this is handled by the distributor or trade ally. SBDI Program valid only for Ameren DS-2 plants.
Contact: Andrea Reiff, Public Sector Energy Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-503-8964
Description: Nicor Gas offers multiple rebates for Public Sector facilities such as municipal wastewater plants for energy efficiency measures that reduce natural gas consumption. Categories include hot water pipe insulation, boiler controls and tune-ups, and other programs. Details on standard rebates can be found here.
Nicor also offers custom incentives for energy efficiency measures not covered by standard incentives based on the amount of projected therm savings and size of the commercial facility. Custom incentives are capped at 35% of project costs or $350,000, whichever is less, and must have a minimum payback period with incentives of 1 year. For additional details, application forms, and application assistance, visit their website.
Eligibility: For Nicor Gas customers only.
Description: North Shore Gas offers energy efficiency rebates for qualified commercial and industrial facilities for efficiency measures that reduce natural gas consumption. Prescriptive rebates are available for steam traps, plumbing insulation, boiler reset controls, and other items. Custom incentives are also available. For application forms and more information on the North Shore Energy Efficiency Programs, visit their website.
Eligible entities: North Shore Gas customers