The Illinois EPA is aware of over 200 Illinois communities that have inadequate or nonexistent wastewater collection and treatment facilities. Some communities rely on individual septic tank systems which often provide inadequate treatment leading to illegal surface discharges. Where wastewater "collection" facilities are present, these facilities are often patchworks of decades-old underground "wildcat" systems that result in illegal surface discharges.
For unsewered communities, affordability is the biggest hurdle to overcome. While their engineering and consultant costs are SRF loan-eligible, the funds are not released until a loan is issued. Communities thus must initially pay a consulting engineer to design a system and then seek reimbursement when the loan is issued.
To assist in providing solutions to this human health hazard and the adverse environmental impacts these situations harbor, Illinois EPA is making $100 million available through the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan over five years for Construction Grants for wastewater collection and/or treatment facilities. Illinois EPA is also making $1 million available for the next 4 years for Planning Grants to assist small and disadvantaged communities in developing a Project Plan that identifies a solution to their wastewater collection and treatment needs. A well-developed Project Plan would allow communities to apply for the Construction Grant to construct wastewater collection and/or treatment solutions for areas where wastewater collection and/or treatment are presently non-existent.
Illinois EPA has released Notices of Funding Opportunity for the Unsewered Communities Planning Grant Program (UCPGP) and the Unsewered Communities Construction Grant Program (UCCGP) and is accepting proposals for projects to plan or construct wastewater collection and treatment systems in unsewered communities.
An entity may not apply for a grant until the entity has registered and pre-qualified through the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal at the following link: https://grants.illinois.gov/portal/. Registration and pre-qualification are required annually.
Applicants may require supplemental funding in addition to the funds being offered through these grant programs. Applicants may request supplemental funding in the form of a low interest loan through the Illinois EPA's Water Pollution Control Loan Program (WPCLP). To inquire about funding through the WPCLP, please call (217)782-2027 and ask to speak with the Infrastructure Financial Assistance Section Project Manager on call.
Further information can be obtained by contacting Lanina Clark, Unsewered Communities Grant Program Project Manager, by email at Lanina.Clark@illinois.gov.
Unsewered Communities Planning Grant Program
The Unsewered Communities Planning Grant Program (UCPGP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) provides an opportunity to receive grant money to develop a Project Plan that will address problems with the collection and treatment of wastewater. Eventually this information could be used in the application for a project that would be funded by the Unsewered Communities Construction Grant Program. The next round of grant funding for the UCPGP will be open in FY2023. A notice of funding opportunity will be posted at that time. All required forms and information can also be found at the webpage shown here.
Unsewered Communities Construction Grant Program
The Unsewered Community Construction Grant Program (UCCGP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) describes how qualified applicants that meet all requirements can receive UCCGP funds to finance the corrective actions needed to address issues with wastewater collection and treatment. The next round of grant funding for the UCCGP will be open in FY2024. All required forms and information can also be found at the webpage shown here.