Eligibility for the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant

Eligible Applicants

Municipalities as defined in the Definitions section of this document with median household income (MHI):

  • Equal to or less than $75,000 according to the United States Census, 2019 American Community Survey2 for municipalities located in Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) regions of Capital District, Southern Tier, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central NY, Finger Lakes, or Western NY; or
  • Equal to or less than $95,000 according to the United States Census, 2019 American Community Survey for municipalities located in REDC regions of Long Island, New York City, and Mid-Hudson.
  • A municipality may have no more than two active EPG awards at the same time. An active EPG award means a project has been awarded funding but does not yet have an accepted engineering report.

American Community Survey Population Data

Eligible Activities

A municipality must use EPG funding for the preparation of an engineering report for an eligible CWSRF project. This includes planning activities to determine the scope of water quality issues, evaluation of alternatives, and the recommendation of a capital improvement project. An environmental review for the recommended alternative is also an eligible activity. Design and construction costs are not eligible.

Funding priority will be given to municipalities whose planning activities are for a capital project:

  • Required by an executed United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrative Order, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Order on Consent; or
  • Required by a DEC draft or final State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit (e.g. nutrient removal, inflow and infiltration, disinfection); or
  • For upgrading or replacing an existing wastewater system; or
  • For constructing a wastewater treatment and/or collection system for an area with failing onsite septic systems; or
  • Addressing a pollutant of concern in a watershed implementation plan (see Definitions section).

Report Requirements

The report must follow the current Engineering Report Outline for New York State Wastewater Infrastructure Projects, consider storm and flood resiliency (sea level rise, storm surge, potential for flooding impacts, or other extreme weather events), consider impacts on environmental justice (EJ) areas (see below), and include a comprehensive analysis of the following alternatives:

  • No-action alternative.
  • Green infrastructure, in combination with gray infrastructure or individually, is required for projects involving stormwater, including stormwater inflow to sewer systems. A justification must be provided if a green infrastructure component is not part of the recommended alternative.
  • Repair or replacement versus new construction.
  • Regional consolidation opportunities.
  • Centralized versus decentralized (for new systems), or a combination thereof (small cluster or individual systems).

Any alternatives considered technically infeasible must be identified as such and the rationale briefly discussed.

Smart Growth alternative(s) must be considered and documented in the engineering report. For more information regarding Smart Growth see the Definitions section below.

Engineering Report Outline

Projects Affecting Water Quality in Environmental Justice Areas

New York State is committed to EJ and supporting remedies for communities that may be burdened by negative environmental consequences. EJ is defined by the State as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, income, national origin or color, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. An application to fund a report for a proposed capital improvement project that will positively impact water quality in an EJ community or will positively impact the quality of drinking water serving an EJ community will receive additional points in the evaluation. 

To qualify for EJ points, the application must include specific details demonstrating the water quality improvement the proposed project will make to an EJ area or to drinking water serving an EJ community, and the area that will benefit from improved water quality or the exact street location(s) where the project will be implemented.

Ineligible Planning Activities

A municipality may not use EPG funding for planning activities related to a proposed capital project that is not a CWSRF eligible project, or for the preparation of or amendment to an existing engineering report.

Ineligible activities include planning activities for a capital project that:

  • Will not restore or protect a surface waterbody or groundwater.
  • Is not for improvements to a publicly-owned treatment works5.
  • Is listed on the 2022 CWSRF Intended Use Plan Annual Project Priority List.
  • Has an engineering report that was previously funded by an EPG.
  • Has a completed engineering report.