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Texas Small Towns Environment Program (STEP)

Texas Department of Agriculture
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

Erica Garza


The Texas Small Towns Environment Program (STEP) provides funds for water and sewer infrastructure improvements utilizing self-help methods and volunteerism.

Communities can use this program to capitalize on the community's own resources, reducing overall project costs. The community must provide local volunteer labor and available material resources, such as equipment, in order to demonstrate a 40% cost saving off the retail construction price of the water or sewer project. Overall construction and implementation must be performed predominately by community volunteer workers.

Eligible activities include:

  • Acquisition of real property related to the installation of water and sewer systems or improvements
  • Ancillary repairs related to the installation of water and sewer systems or improvements
  • Installation of facilities to provide first-time water or sewer service
  • Installation of water or sewer system improvements
  • Plumbing improvements associated with providing water or sewer service to a housing unit
  • Reasonable associated administrative costs
  • Reasonable associated engineering services costs
  • Sewer or water taps and water meters
  • Water or sewer connection fees
  • Water or sewer house service connections
  • Water or sewer yard service lines

Eligible applicants are non-entitlement general purpose units of local government including cities and counties that are not participating or designated as eligible to participate in the entitlement portion of the federal Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).

Non-entitlement cities are located predominately in rural areas and are cities with populations less than 50,000; cities that are not designated as a central city of a metropolitan statistical area; and cites that are not participating in urban county programs. Non-entitlement counties are also predominately rural in nature and are counties that generally have fewer than 200,000 persons in the non-entitlement cities and unincorporated areas located in the county.

Geographic coverage
Amount of funding

Up to $350,000.

Application process

Applicants must submit a letter of interest and funds will be dispersed on a first-come, first-serve basis each year until all available funds are obligated. The funder will evaluate projects and invite selected communities to submit a full proposal. Evaluation criteria is listed in the application instructions.

Tagged as
Capital funding · Community engagement and volunteerism · Environmental health · Infrastructure · Texas

For complete information about funding programs, including your application status, please contact funders directly. Summaries are provided for your convenience only. RHIhub does not take part in application processes or monitor application status.