The department shall use funds specifically appropriated to
award principal forgiveness loans under this section to assist
financially disadvantaged communities in correcting public
health risks in their drinking water systems. For purposes of
this section, the term "financially disadvantaged community"
means a municipality, county or agency with a median household
income of less than the statewide average as reported in the
most recently available decennial census.
Forgiving the repayment of the principal amount of a loan is
the equivalent of a grant and has the benefit of not imposing
additional federal requirements on the loan recipient that would
be associated with a formal “grant.”