|Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality|
Nebraska Environmental Projects to Receive Recovery Funds
A number of environmental programs in Nebraska are receiving support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). These are funds provided to Nebraska through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and will then be distributed by the state to local efforts that protect the environment and stimulate the economy.
Six programs administered by NDEQ have been allocated ARRA funds by the U.S. EPA. They are:
Clean Water State Revolving Fund
Nebraska has been awarded approximately $20 million in ARRA funds that can be used for wastewater treatment facility improvements, which are known as Clean Water projects.
The ARRA funds would supplement the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The CWSRF provides low-interest loans to communities for construction of wastewater treatment facilities and sanitary sewer collection systems, to alleviate public health and environmental problems. NDEQ’s CWSRF loan program annually surveys the wastewater needs of communities across the state, and develops an Intended Use Plan that prioritizes those needs and is the basis for allocating the loans.
The $20 million in ARRA funds would be blended with approximately $34 million of Nebraska’s existing CWSRF loan funds. Prior to the addition of ARRA funds, the 2009 CWSRF Intended Use Plan had targeted six communities to receive low-interest loans in 2009, with numerous others communities awaiting future funding. The addition of the ARRA funds expanded this list to 16 communities that can receive a combination of low-interest loans and principal forgiveness. These communities are being offered a package including a 50 percent low interest loan from existing state CWSRF funding, a 25 percent no-interest loan of ARRA funds, and 25 percent principal forgiveness of ARRA funds.
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
This program is administered jointly by NDEQ and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services – Health Division. Nebraska has been awarded approximately $19.5 million in ARRA funds, which will be combined with $30 million in existing funds from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The DWSRF provides low-interest loans to support improvements in communities’ drinking water systems.
Twenty-five percent of the $49.5 million will be available in the form of grants to communities. The remaining 75 percent will be issued to communities as low-interest loans at 3 percent.
Leaking Underground Storage Tank Program
NDEQ has been awarded $2.3 million in ARRA funding for the investigation and cleanup of 60 leaking underground storage tank sites in 43 Nebraska communities.
This portion of ARRA funding can only be used at sites where there is no viable responsible person to do the cleanup. The sites selected by the state meet this federal requirement, and have been ranked by NDEQ as priority sites needing cleanup or further investigation. Funding would be used for:
- Cleanups – Nine leaking underground storage tank sites in eight communities have completed the investigation phase and are ready to proceed with the remediation (cleanup) process. It is expected that over the next two years, about $1.3 million will be spent on cleanup at these sites.
- Site Investigations – ARRA funds would be used to complete site investigation at 51 sites in 36 communities. Contamination has been reported at these sites and an initial investigation is necessary to determine the extent and potential impacts of contamination. At the conclusion of the investigation, a recommendation will be made to close the site or perform further remedial actions. It is expected that about $1 million will be spent on the investigation at these sites.
In addition to ARRA funding, NDEQ’s Petroleum Remediation Program will continue to provide funds from the Petroleum Release Remedial Action Reimbursement Fund to help investigate and clean up additional sites across the state. Last year, about $8.6 million was used for cleanup and investigation costs through this state program.
Diesel Emission Reduction Act
Nebraska has received $1.73 million in ARRA funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be used in the state program portion of the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). The objective of these ARRA funds is to stimulate the economy, create and/or preserve jobs, and reduce diesel emissions.
Many types of eligible projects will be encouraged through this grant application process. The types of projects that NDEQ will be focusing efforts on include:
- using retrofit technologies to reduce diesel emissions from large vehicles such as buses and trucks;
- diesel exhaust controls;
- idle reduction technologies; and
- engine upgrades and replacement.
Examples of fleets that could benefit by the technologies include: school buses, transit buses, medium duty truck, heavy duty truck, construction and agriculture.
NDEQ is currently seeking grant applications. Proposals are due to the agency by June 30, 2009. For grant applications and forms, go to DEQ’s web site, select Requests for Proposals, then select Nebraska Clean Diesel Program.
604 (B) Water Quality Planning –- EPA has awarded NDEQ $202,500 for Water Quality Planning. NDEQ will provide these funds to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to continue ground and surface water quality and quantity planning for the Platte River Conjunctive Management Project. The project will help to optimize activities to best protect water quality and quantity for all uses on the Platte River, including endangered species, irrigation, and public recreation and drinking water.
Superfund Cost Share – - A cost share agreement has not yet been finalized with Nebraska, but EPA has allocated approximately $30 million in Recovery Act funds to the Omaha Lead Superfund site. The funds would be used to significantly increase the pace of ongoing long-term soil cleanup and lead-based paint stabilization activities.
Nebraska Recovery link: More information about Nebraska programs receiving Recovery Act funds can be found at:
National Recovery link: More information about the nationwide Recovery Act program can be found at:
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509