States are required to develop an annual Intended Use Plan (IUP) for the DWSRF, and provide it to the public for review and comment before
submitting it to the EPA as part of its capitalization grant application. The IUP must include, among other things, a description of how the DWSRF
funds will be used, a priority ranking system which meets the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and EPA guidelines, a comprehensive project priority
list (PPL) based on the ranking system, and project bypass criteria. The
PPL (found here) represents all projects that are anticipated to receive
loan assistance in the first year following the grant award. In determining funding priority, states are required to ensure, to the maximum extent
practical, that priority use of DWSRF funds be given to projects that:
- address the most serious risks to human health
- are necessary to ensure compliance under the SDWA
- assist systems most in need on a per household basis (i.e., affordability)
The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) developed a priority ranking system for the DWSRF which has been approved by the EPA. The priority
ranking system is a 100-point system consisting of the following criteria and point assignments:
- Water Quality (maximum points limited to 35)
- Water Quantity (maximum of 20 points)
- Affordability (maximum of 15 points)
- Infrastructure Adequacy (maximum points limited to 15)
- Consolidation or Regionalization of Water Supplies (maximum of 10 points)
- Operator Safety (maximum of 5 points)
To qualify for potential DWSRF assistance, a project must be eligible, ranked, and included on the PPL within an IUP. Once identified in an
IUP, a project can be approved for assistance based upon its ranking and the availability of funds. Under certain conditions, lower-ranked
projects can be funded ahead of higher-ranked projects. The conditions under which a higher-ranked project can be bypassed are included in
the IUP, and include such criteria as readiness to proceed. While an application can be processed and preliminary work completed in
advance, no assistance can be approved for nor any funds transferred to a system until their project is identified in a finalized IUP.
In the spring of each year, a letter of interest is sent to all potential DWSRF loan recipients asking for information regarding new
drinking water projects for which they may be interested in pursuing DWSRF assistance. Systems that respond are provided a project
ranking questionnaire (found here). Eligible projects for
which ranking questionnaires are returned are ranked and included on the PPL as part of the IUP development process. In the fall of each
year, following public review and comment, the IUP is finalized and subsequently included in the grant application to the EPA.
Once the IUP is finalized, systems with projects on the PPL may apply for DWSRF assistance.
Depending on the complexity of the project, the NDDoH and/or The North Dakota Public Finance Authority (PFA) may schedule a meeting to
explain the program, answer any questions that the system may have, and assist the system as needed.
The NDDoH assesses the applicant's technical and managerial capability and ensures that other programmatic requirements are met. The PFA
reviews the financial information and assesses the applicant's financial capability. Loan application packets can be obtained from the PFA’s
website here. All items in the loan application, including the DWSRF
attachment, must be completed. One copy of the signed application must be submitted to the NDDoH at the address listed on the instruction
page of the application. The NDDoH will send a copy of the loan application to the PFA for its review.