EPA Region 5 Water Infrastructure EFC

Delta Institute and our partners the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), Current, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), are operating as an EPA Region 5 EFC in Category 2: Regional Water Infrastructure—so that more communities have access to cleaner, healthier, and more equitable water resources.

In brief: What We’re Doing

All communities need access to safe, clean, and reliable water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates a historic opportunity to improve water infrastructure in communities. EPA’s Water Technical Assistance provides hands-on support for communities to assess their needs, identify potential solutions, and develop funding applications. EPA is working with nonprofit technical assistance providers, like Delta Institute, located across the country that have extensive expertise in helping communities solve water challenges.

Delta and our partners, as one of the EPA Region 5 EFCs, are providing targeted technical assistance centered around funding for projects that achieve the goals of either the Clean Water Act (i.e. natural sources/bodies of water that benefit the public) or the Safe Drinking Water Act (i.e. water specifically for human consumption, and administered by utilities/municipalities). These projects focus on water infrastructure for local governments, states, Tribal governments, and non-governmental organizations. Delta and our partners are engaging with historically underserved communities that have struggled to access federal water infrastructure funding.

Our efforts dovetail and align with those of our friends, the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP) and Michigan Technical University, who are also serving as EPA Region 5 Environmental Finance Centers. Delta Institute’s focus is on Water Technical Assistance, and we cross-pollinate with these peer organizations as needed depending on the needs of our partner communities.

The Process: How to Begin, and What Technical Assistance is Available

A community may contact the EPA, or Delta Institute to fill out a technical assistance intake form; Delta Institute’s intake form is located at the bottom of this page. This begins the technical assistance process, which normally starts with an informational meeting to learn more about your community. Once we have an understanding of your needs, we can identify specific services that are both helpful and timely for your community’s project planning.

As a brief overview, our approach to technical assistance includes:

Targeted and focused services centered on the needs of partner communities.

Our technical assistance services will directly engage with water utilities and communities, resulting in concrete actions that put communities on the path to successfully accessing SRF funding. Delta and our partners are providing services to partner agencies inclusive of:

  • Planning and assessment: Water infrastructure project identification, planning, and set-up;
  • Project development: Ensuring project readiness for SRF application(s);
  • Funding and financing: Application assistance to secure state based SRF investment; Compliance and risk mitigation advisement;
  • Program management support: Project maintenance, stewardship, and long-term planning; and,
  • Direct Water-focused technical assistance.

Meeting technical assistance recipients where they are in their project work.

Our EFC’s approach to technical assistance will commence with and will be grounded within the water utility, municipality, and community needs, to then progress and work from that starting point.

Our services are informed by the technical, administrative, managerial, and financial realities of the communities we work within. This approach directly dovetails with Delta Institute’s current and prior municipal- and community-based water infrastructure projects.

Culturally competent services that engage the broader community.

Our EFC’s technical assistance will be provided in a culturally competent manner that supports partner communities to build trust. Earnest and consistent efforts will be made to support technical assistance recipients to engage the broader community, including harder-to-reach communities.

This approach directly reflects and coincides with Delta Institute’s organizational focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; such community engagement efforts are a cornerstone of our water- and community-focused projects.

Available Resources to Help you Plan for Water Infrastructure Technical Assistance

Our geographic focus is EPA Region 5 states, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. If you are a community within that geography, and you need technical assistance to undertake water infrastructure projects (potentially for the first time), please familiarize yourself with helpful materials and resources on this webpage that can support your planning.

Please note that each state has their own State Revolving Fund (SRF) criteria, along with their own State-specific definitions of underserved communities. Some States also have specific criteria for Clean Water vs. Drinking Water SRF projects (please see the below Region 5 State-specific roster). It’s helpful to review your State’s requirements prior to project planning.

A Brief Roster of Helpful Acronym Definitions to review before you start:

BIL: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law DWSRF: Drinking Water State Revolving Fund PFAS: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
CWA: Clean Water Act GSI: Green Stormwater Infrastructure PPL: Project Priority List
CWSRF: Clean Water State Revolving Fund IIJA: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act SDWA: Safe Drinking Water Act
DACs: Disadvantaged Communities IUP: Intended Use Plan SRF: State Revolving Fund
DWINSA: Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment PF: Principal Forgiveness TY4RT: Thank You For Reading This 🙂

Please take a moment to review the protocols and policies of your specific state, as each state has their own unique State Revolving Fund (SRF) guidelines, deadlines, and application process. Please note that EPA follows state-based guidelines, so your specific state’s policies are what guides our technical assistance.

As a quick reminder, our EPA Region 5 geographic focus includes the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Is your project eligible? Review federal Clean- and Drinking- Water SRF eligibilities:

Please also take a moment to review the very helpful SRF Switchboard created and managed by our friends at the Southwest Environmental Finance Center that details all 50 states’ SRF requirements:

Understandably wanting more details about State Revolving Funds (SRFs) before you dive in? Please take a moment to sign up for a 9-part series of free trainings by our friends at the River Network to learn more about how to get your water infrastructure project funded:

¿Su comunidad necesita materiales de los programas del Fondo rotativo estatal (SRF, por su siglas en inglés) traducidos al español? El SRF State Advocates Forum recopila recursos y herramientas para ayudar a nuestros miembros a comprender y participar en el proceso de SRF. Tienen hojas informativas, bases de datos de recursos y grabaciones generales:

Our Goals: What We Plan to Accomplish in the Years Ahead

Community Collaboration and Support

Over the next five years of EFC operations, we plan that more than 200 communities will benefit from our eligible clean water and drinking water finance technical assistance services. We will provide technical assistance to 30 communities in 2024, and plan to scale in 2025-2028 to serve at least 50 communities per year.

Join us today!

Securing Investment

Our goal is assisting communities to apply to their State Revolving Funds, while ensuring comprehensive representation and collaboration with communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and/or lack of historical access to funding—inclusive of Tribal, BIPOC-majority, and environmental justice (EJ) communities. Delta is consistently collaborating with EPA on the intake, review, and facilitation of eligible clean water and drinking water finance technical assistance to ensure that more communities have access to SRF opportunities for their water needs.

About Us

Delta assists communities by integrating natural climate solutions and Green Infrastructure (GI) to reduce climate change impacts by capturing 100 million stormwater gallons and leveraging $100 million in municipal GI investment. We focus on communities that are disproportionately affected by flooding and climate change to collaboratively improve their environmental indicators, mitigate local climate impacts, and strengthen neighborhoods’ resilience. Our EFC partners ASAP, Current, and CNT are experts in their fields, with extensive networks throughout EPA Region 5, and we are grateful to them–and you–for helping us achieve our vision of a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable Midwest.

Want a quick overview to share with your colleagues and collaborators? Please download our Environmental Finance Center below:

There is a lot of information, and a lot to consider as you plan water infrastructure needs for your community. Have questions? We’re here to help.

Please contact us at delta@delta-institute.org to learn more before starting the process, or please fill out the below form to start the technical assistance process. Our staff will review responses on a real-time basis and will be in touch within 3 business days to schedule an introductory conversation to learn more about your community’s Water Technical Assistance needs. Thank you for reaching out to us.

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