IBF Meeting Speaker: DC Kuhns

Speaker: DC Kuhns, Executive Director and Founder of EDEN Delmarva


The Inland Bays Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c3) organization. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month (6 pm) at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach, DE.

Mr. Kuhns will discuss the following:

Clean Water Solutions –
A Nonprofit Collaboration

Clean Water Solutions

Clean Water Solutions is a collaboration of three non-profit organizations:

The goal of the initiative is to enable the consolidation of under-resourced community systems to a sole non-profit ownership structure through fundraising, technical assistance, and long-term management.


July 2015 to July 2016, representatives from a wide variety of organizations met, under the aegis of USDA to discuss what to do about failing septic “cluster” wastewater systems in private communities

This committee, through USDA, issued a Request for Information (RFI) and 3 non-profits, including SERCAP responded

The committee felt that none of the responders offered all that was needed and asked the 3 to form a partnership

Organizational Roles


Financial consulting, CRA funding conduit, fundraising efforts


Technical assistance, community advisement, system transition planning


Non-profit utility operations, capital improvement planning, debt servicing

Since that first meeting in June…

The 3 collaborators began meeting weekly

A two-year budget was developed & revised

A pro forma has been developed & refined

A Memorandum of Understanding has been executed between the partners

Asset Transfer Protocol and an Asset Purchase Template have been developed

An Executive Summary and Business plan has been designed

Additional Startup financing has been discussed and pursued (preliminary approvals are pending)

CWS applied for and has received a Collaborative Grant from the Delaware Community Foundation

CWS Has met with…

The Public Service Commission staff

DNREC Financial Assistance Branch

USDA staff

Representatives of two targeted “cluster” communities

Other funders to identify additional opportunities

The Results:

Until DSSC receives its 501(c)(3) designation, it will work under the auspices of Eden-Delmarva to qualify for 501(c)(3) grant programs

Letters of eligibility for funding from DNREC and SERCAP are pending

CWS calculation is that a grant to loan ratio of 70% : 30% will be necessary to keep rates down

TWO of the targeted communities are already on board and one has passed a resolution to transfer system assets 

The Next steps

A CPCN application must be filed with the PSC to get approval for DSSC as a Non-Profit Utility

A TMF needs assessment will be conducted by SERCAP

An engineering assessment will be conducted by DSSC via planning grant applications

Capital Improvement needs (if any) will be identified during this process

An application for USDA Rural Business Development Grant was filed 12/16

DSSC will continue the process of obtaining an IRS 501(c)(3) designation

Grants for planning and preliminary engineering for capital projects will be applied for once the systems are under DSSC ownership as the eligible entity

Funding for Capital Projects and upgrades will be sought as needs are prioritized

Additional systems will be approached as the earlier systems are running sustainability

User revenues from the first systems operating successfully will help to fund activities in the subsequent systems

Success will breed success!

In summary:

More than 50% of projected start up funding is  in place

All funding so far has been from private sources

Two systems are ready and anxious to be relieved of their operational responsibility

To keep the user rates low CWS will need a grant to loan ratio of 70%: 30%

This concept has legs and is rolling along!

How you can help…

Make others in your own network aware of our innovative collaboration to help get the word out

Point us toward other potential funding

Consider a similar approach to replicate in other states with similar issues

Support the concept and the partnership  (letters if/when needed)

Clean Water Solutions –
A Nonprofit Collaboration
Visit EDEN Delmarva website