This year, if you’re a local government or utility district, we may reach out to you.
We are participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Watersheds Needs Survey. The survey is an assessment of investments needed to protect and improve water quality within each state and territory.
The information collected for the survey is important as it influences the amount of money Ecology receives from the state and federal government to fund water quality improvement projects.
Why participate in the survey?
EPA coordinates with states and territories to gather information. Then EPA submits the survey results in a report to Congress. This report is used by Congress and state legislatures to fund projects, particularly with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program, which funds certain water quality protection efforts. '
The state’s CWSRF program uses federal funds as seed money for low interest and forgivable loans. Along with the federal money, repayments and interest from older loans grow the fund — which increases available funding. So as the federal contribution grows, we're able to offer more loans for water quality projects. Over the past five years, Ecology offered over $743 million in low interest and forgivable principal loans to projects such as upgrades to sewer pipes, septic system repairs, installations of stormwater treatment facilities, and riparian restorations.
Though the last EPA survey took place in 2012, we've continued to collect data on small communities' wastewater infrastructure needs. Tour the Small Community Wastewater Infrastructure Needs report.
How is the 2022 survey different?
The 2022 survey will collect information on projects that are needed — to address an existing or projected (within next 20 years) water quality issue. Expanding beyond small communities’ wastewater, this year’s survey will include the technical and needs data for:
- Publicly owned treatment works (including information on combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows)
- Municipal stormwater programs
- Decentralized wastewater treatment
- Nonpoint source best management practice implementation
- Water efficiency
- Renewable energy projects
Gathering data over the next few months
Over the coming months, our clean water survey coordinator will be collecting information for the survey. We often collect data from documents that are already available, such as facility plans, capital improvement plans, comprehensive sewer plans, permits, grant and loan applications, or other planning documents. We might contact municipal staff for your planning documents and technical data. Small communities can expect to receive a web-based small community form through an emailed link from the EPA and may need to update technical data, as necessary.
We will begin entering data into the EPA’s data dashboard in the spring of 2022. EPA intends to make the data publicly available by 2024.
By responding to requests for data, municipalities and small communities will have a platform to share their water quality needs and show why financial assistance is necessary to meet these needs. The survey is an opportunity to let Congress and the state Legislature know the financial and technical needs and is your chance to get your community’s projects included in the survey.
To make the 2022 survey a comprehensive look at Washington’s needs we need your input and assistance. While taking part in this survey is voluntary, it can have a big impact for local governments and the state. The results of the survey can influence the amount of money Washington receives from the federal government to fund clean water projects statewide.
Learn more by visiting our grant and loan program webpage
Please contact our Clean Water Survey Coordinator: