For Immediate Release
November 28, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Earns Award for Drinking Water Loan Program

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) was recently awarded the 2007 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Award for Sustainable Health Protection by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for its operation of the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund (KPWSLF). The loan fund provides low interest rate financing to municipalities for the improvement of public drinking water systems.

KDHE received the award for forming partnerships to streamline the process for processing loan applications from cities, counties and rural water districts to construct public water systems.

“The Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund provides much needed financial assistance to small communities to protect public health by providing safe drinking water,” stated Karl Mueldener, Director of the KDHE Bureau of Water. “We’ve developed a user friendly process which makes it easy for small towns and water districts to get low interest loans.”

Water systems serving communities of less than 5,000 have received 81 percent of the loans, and 38 percent of the available funds. Making sure small systems are included has been a priority, said Mueldener.

The Kansas Development Finance Authority sells revenue bonds to leverage Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding. The loan program can provide $4 in loan funds for each $1 received from EPA, and the state Division of Accounts and Reports provides accounting services. The Kansas Rural Water Finance Authority (KRWFA) reviews loan applications to assure that the borrower can repay the loan, and provides assistance with budgeting and establishing local water rates. These activities allow KDHE to focus more strongly on the specific environmental issues that can affect individual communities.

KDHE also earned the award in 2005. EPA presents the awards every two years to states that show outstanding performance and leadership in areas such as management practices, efficient water use, innovative partnerships and other areas.