Program 101

What does this program do?

This program helps qualified non-profits create a revolving loan fund (RLF) that can provide financing for the extension and improvement of water and waste disposal systems in rural areas.

Who may apply for these grants?

Nonprofits that have:

  • legal authority to operate a revolving loan fund
  • financial, technical and managerial capacity to comply with relevant state/federal laws and regulations

How may grant funds be used?

To create a RLF for eligible utility districts operated by:

  • State and local governmental entities
  • Non-profits

What may the RLF be used for?

  • Pre-development costs of water and wastewater treatment projects
  • Short-term small capital improvement projects that are not part of the regular operations and maintenance

What are the RLF terms?

  • Maximum loan per borrower is $100,000
  • Maximum term is 10 years
  • Interest rate determined by utility district borrower and nonprofit that manages the RLF

What is an eligible area?

Are matching funds required?

Partnerships with other federal, state and local entities are encouraged; however, in some circumstances a grant may be offered for 100% of the Revolving Loan Fund start-up capital if funds are available.

When is the deadline to apply?

The deadline for a completed application for a grant is April 13, 2015. Applications in either paper or electronic format must be postmarked or time-stamped electronically on or before the deadline. Late applications will be ineligible for grant considerations.

How do we get started?

First, contact a Rural Department program specialist in the state or territory where your RLF would be available. Once you've spoken with them, they'll help you begin the application process, whether electronic or on paper:

  • Electronic applications are accepted through www.grants.gov
  • Paper applications may be sent to Water Programs Division, Rural Utilities Service, Stop: 1570, Room 2234-S, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-1570.

Who can answer questions?

What governs this program?

  • Code of Federal Regulation, 7 CFR Part 1783
  • This program is authorized by Section 306 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (CONACT) and section 6002 of the Agricultural Act of 2014

Why does USDA Rural Development do this?

This program helps very small communities extend and improve water and waste-treatment facilities for households and businesses. Good practices can save tax dollars, improve the natural environment and may be necessary for manufacturers and other types of businesses to locate or expand operations.

NOTE: Program details may change over time. Before you begin an application, please confirm you have the most current information by contacting a specialist in your local office for assistance or consult the program Instructions listed in the section above titled "What Governs this Program?"

(1) A revolving loan fund (RLF) is a pool of public- and private-sector funds that recycles money as loans are repaid (revolved funds). Funding by a grant or a long-term/low-cost loan is used to start, replenish and expand RLFs. Funding recipients are State or local government agencies and non-profit entities structured to make loans. They must demonstrate economic need and have a plan that both meets program requirements and spurs growth.

Forms & Resources

NOTE: Please contact your local State Office and speak to a Water & Environmental Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in your application.

Please review the 2015 Water & Waste Disposal Revolving Loan Fund Program Application Guide ( pdf | doc ) in conjunction with your conversation with the Rural Development program specialist in your state.