The PENNVEST Nonpoint Source Program – “Quick Guide”
The “Quick Guide” is designed to give an overview of the PENNVEST Nonpoint Source (PVNPS) Application Process and Procedures. It includes a brief introduction to the PVNPS Program; who and what projects are eligible for funding; and, some important information on key aspects of the program. Also included is a sequential guide through the funding process that gives an outline of the steps from initial preparation to the final project closeout.
PENNVEST Nonpoint Source Program (NPS) Introduction
Established in 1988 with the goal of improving water quality in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) has historically funded large scale wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. The PVNPS program was started in 2009 in response to the Chesapeake Bay Initiative and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. By that time nonpoint source water pollution had become identified as the largest contributor to stream impairment in Pennsylvania and PENNVEST realized that major water quality improvements could be made in this area with relatively small investment.
Nonpoint source projects represented a major change from the highly engineered, big dollar point source projects PENNVEST traditionally funded. They have adapted to the new project type by revising the application requirements, forms and procedures as much as possible. A statutory “fix” that will allow further program improvements was in legislative committee in the spring of 2012 and will hopefully be approved in the near future.
Program Information and Requirements
PVNPS Applicant Eligibility
- Only government entities, such as Conservation Districts, Municipalities and Municipal Authorities may be the applicant.
- Non-government entities (i.e. watershed organizations, farmers, etc) may apply by using a qualifying government entity as a sponsor.
- Consultants, engineers or other technical experts often complete the technical sections of the applications – though they cannot be the official “Applicant’
- Nonpoint Source projects that have a clear Water Quality Benefit are eligible.
- Four categories of NPS projects are considered
o Agricultural BMP’s – eligible practices are those included in NRCS’s Pa Tech Guide
o Urban Stormwater – eligible practices are those included in DEP’s Stormwater Best Practices Manual
o Abandoned Mine Drainage – eligible practices are those listed in the NPS Pollution Program Preliminary Program Design Manual, 2010
o Brownfield Stormwater – eligible practices are those listed in the NPS Pollution Program Preliminary Program Design Manual, 2010
- Projects must be “Shovel Ready” – Design and engineering complete, permits approved, and ready to go to bid.
- There must be an adopted Act 167 Stormwater Plan OR a Local Stormwater Ordinance Or the project must be required under an NPDES MS4 Permit. AMD projects are exempted from this requirement.
- The project must comply with county and local land use plans.
The Application Cycle
- PENNVEST accepts and reviews applications three or four times each year.
- Projects submitted by the “cutoff date” will be reviewed and ranked by PENNVEST and DEP
- Approximately two months after the “cutoff” date, technically complete projects are considered by the PENNVEST Board of Directors.
- Applicants with Board approved projects will be sent an Offer stating terms and conditions of the offer.
- Applications for projects that were declined funding will remain active. They may be amended and resubmitted.
- Applicants have 45 days after the Board Meeting to accept the Funding Offer.
- The Cutoff Dates and Board Meeting schedule is:
Cutoff: May 16, 2012 Board Meeting: July 18, 2012
Cutoff: August 22, 2012 Board Meeting: October 24, 2012
Cutoff: November 14, 2012 Board Meeting: January 23, 2013
Cutoff: February 20, 2013 Board Meeting: April 24, 2013
Cutoff: May 15, 2013 Board Meeting: To be determined
- PENNVEST will fund:
o Construction Costs
o Engineering and Legal Fees
o Administrative Costs (up to 4% of construction costs)
o No matching funds are required
- PENNVEST will not fund:
o Land acquisition costs
o Paving of roads
o Refinancing of long term debt
- Note that if the PENNVEST Application is not approved, upfront costs for design, engineering, etc. will NOT be reimbursed.
Loan or Grant?
- PENNVEST is a low interest loan program.
- A limited number of grants are available, based on:
o Grant funds available
o Borrowers ability to pay back a loan
o Project Quality
o Community Health and Safety
Other Program Requirements
- Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage rates apply to PENNVEST NPS projects.
- Davis-Bacon wages do not apply to PENNVEST NPS projects.
- DBE solicitations are not required for PVNPS projects.
Project Ranking System – Rating Criteria
- See the PACD website for detailed information on the rating system
- DEP and PENNVEST rank projects per established rating guidelines.
- Projects that have a clear and quantifiable water quality benefit and that have a high benefit-to-cost ratio will technically be considered “good” projects.
- DEP rates the technical merits of the project in five categories:
o Water Quality (40 points)
o Compliance (10 points)
o Planning (25 points)
o Benefits-to-cost (20 points)
o Safety (5 points)
- PENNVEST adds up an additional 65 points, for:
o Economic Development (20 points)
o Disadvantaged Community – Act 47 list (10 points)
o Infill – redevelopment of existing population centers (10 points)
o Designated Brownfield sites
o Community Action Team Projects (10 points)
o Comprehensive Planning
The PENNVEST PVNPS Funding Process
The three major steps to the Funding Process are outlined below. While brief explanations are given, for more detailed information see the PACD website PVNPS tab, the PENNVEST website information pages, or follow the step-by-step procedures in the funding application.
The PENNVEST funding application must be completed and submitted online. Go to http://www.pennvest.state.pa.us to start a funding request.
Step 1 – Applying for PENNVEST Funding:
The first step in the funding process is preparing the application and submitting it to the PENNVEST Board for consideration. There are five distinct parts to submitting the application.
Preparing to Apply
- Read and review the information on the PACD and PENNVEST websites.
- Create a Definitive Problem Statement; What is the water quality issue and how will it be addressed by this project?
- Contact your PENNVEST Regional Project Specialist to review the general applicability of the PVNPS program to your proposed project
- Have preliminary design, engineering and cost estimates completed (the more detailed the better)
- Contact the DEP Regional Office and apply for any required permits
- Go to the PENNVEST Website and Register with PA PowerPort; receive a username and password
- Login to the PENNVEST Website and Start a New Funding Request
- Enter project type and description.
- Register and enter information for the borrower, technical expert and legal counsel.
The Planning Consultation Meeting
- After the “Getting Started” section is complete, a Planning Consultation Meeting is scheduled to determine project quality, receive guidance on how best to proceed and have any questions answered.
- The Borrower and their technical expert, the PV Project Specialist and DEP Project Manager should attend. Others, such as the PACD Application Developer or others who have knowledge about the project may also attend.
- Upon successful completion of the Planning Consultation Meeting, the Data Collection Section is “Unlocked” by Project Specialist.
- The Data Collection Section is the main application section. Here you will enter specific project information, supporting documents and financial information.
- Some of the required Inputs are,
o A narrative description and benefits of the project
o Technical Information; plans, engineering date, specifications, etc.
o Implementation Plan and Budget
o Borrower Financial Reports – last three years financial reports
o Approved DEP permits
o Land Use Planning Approval
Submitting the Application
- “Submit The Application” – Only when the application is complete and all supporting documents are uploaded. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
- All technical documents must be sent to DEP at this time for review and ranking.
- Once submitted the application is “locked”. Changes can only be made if the Project Specialist allows access.
- The Project Specialist will review the entire application package to determine if all requirements have been met and if it is “technically complete”.
- Complete applications and the DEP ranking are sent to the PENNVEST Board for consideration.
- The PENNVEST Board reviews and makes a determination for funding approximately two months after the application Cutoff Date.
- Funding offers must be accepted online within 45 days of the Board Meeting.
Step 2 – Settlement:
Once the funding offer is accepted, the settlement process may be started. Because a substantial amount of information is needed at this time the settlement (or loan closing) can be one of the most complex and time consuming steps in the process.
Schedule a Settlement Date
- Schedule a settlement date to ensure that you reach settlement in a timely manner. Settlement must take place within 270 days from the date of the Board Meeting when your project was approved.
- Click on the “Schedule Settlement Date” icon on the Settlement Toolbar. If no date is listed, click on the “edit information” button to request a date and an email is automatically sent to the PENNVEST legal office
- Check for a confirmation email to verify that your requested date was confirmed.
Print and Review Your Settlement Plan
- The Settlement Plan lists action items, responsibilities and due dates.
- Print and thoroughly review the plan to establish lead times and the parties needed to be ready for your scheduled settlement date.
- The plan is automatically updated as you complete items on the list. Periodically review the plan to see what has been done and what still needs to be completed by the settlement date.
Attorney and Engineer/Technical Expert Meeting
- It is recommended that within 30 days of accepting the funding offer; the borrower, their attorney and technical expert meet to review the settlement process and the documents needed.
- Review the Settlement process to understand what is provided online and who is responsible for accomplishing what tasks.
- Review all the forms, documents and procedures (they will be shown on the “Settlement Checklist”). Identify and assign responsibilities, signature and authorization requirements and review timelines and due dates.
Complete the Documents, Forms and Certifications
- Using the checklist as a guide start completing all the requirements on the list. Documents can be download and uploaded directly to the website and all transactions on the website are automatically logged.
- Requirements for settlement include:
o Bid documents and the bidding process must be completed. Or-Equal provision is required in bid documents
o Executed construction contracts, payment and performance bonds, labor and materials bonds and liability insurance certificates.
o Inter-Municipal Agreement: An appropriate Land Use Agreement with the property owners to allow access to site for construction, inspections, etc.
o Professional Service Agreement: Agreements with Attorneys, Technical Experts/Engineers, Geologists and other professionals are required. Can be a lump sum or not-to-exceed amount.
o Organizational Documents: Organizational bylaws or documents under which you are duly organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of PA.
Step 3 – Funds Disbursement:
Upon Settlement of your funding, the Funds Disbursement (FD) process can be started. Project cost sheets and contracts, the project budget, payment requests and close out of the project for final payment are all done from the Funds Disbursement section of the website.
Login and the Initial FD page
- Login to the FD section. The initial FD page has a number of sections, including
o My Workflow – that shows anything that is pending action for your project.
o My Projects – lists all projects linked to the user.
o My Projects/Project Search – to search for specific projects by criteria.
o My Projects/My Account – to access your company information , Function and Role responsibilities, Technical Support and Email Notifications.
- Locate the desired project and click on it to open it and to go to the Project Home Page/Summary Tab.
The Home Page/Summary Tab
- Home Tab – Alerts and Tools: includes Links to tools and reports, a Project Summary, Project Management tools, Project Status changes, etc.
- Contacts Tab: lists who is linked to the project, their contact information and allows editing/addition of contacts
- Budget Tab: Shows approved budget from the funding offer, Cost Category totals from the Submitted Cost Sheets, Contingency, etc.
- Cost Sheet Tab: Builds the costs into the FD system as they are at Settlement; these amounts populate the budget. Add Vendors into the system for construction, legal and engineering and build detailed cost sheets for vendors .
- Change Order Tab: Use this tab to submit Change Orders (CO) for “normal” construction changes and for “Advise of Change” requests for extension of contract period and for changes to the non-construction cost sheets. Support documentation is submitted to DEP separately.
- Estimates Tab: Create and submit estimates to bill against the expenses that have occurred for the project so they can be submitted for reimbursement
- Requests Tab: Create payment requests for reimbursement of expenses incurred for the project.
- Inspections Tab: Shows DEP inspections that have taken place with the date requested, date inspected and status of the inspection.
- Closeout Tab: A checklist shows the items that must be completed to Final Amortize and closeout the loan.
PENNVEST Regional Project Specialists:
Dave Henning, Northwest and North Central, email@example.com, 717-783-4490
Larry Gasparato, Southwest, firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-783-6673
Tess Schlupp, South Central and Southeast, email@example.com, 717-783-8618
Mike Gallagher, Northeast, firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-783-4488
DEP Project Manager, Phil Wenrich, email@example.com, 717-705-6345
PENNVEST NPS Application Developer, Terry Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-238-7223 x11