Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

Announcement: As of March 7, 2016, the EPA has suspended use of the following forms associated with DBE:

  • EPA Form 6100-2, DBE Subcontractor Participation Form
  • EPA Form 6100-3, DBE Subcontractor Performance Form
  • EPA Form 6100-4, DBE Subcontractor Utilization Form

Any procurements performed after March 7, 2016, are no longer required to submit these forms. Those procurements performed before March 7, 2016, are still required to submit the forms above.

The Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs receive federal funds from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  These funds are used to provide low interest rate loans to finance wastewater and drinking water capital projects.  As a condition of federal grant awards, EPA regulations require that loan recipients (municipalities, towns, public water authorities, etc.) and sub-recipients (prime contractors and sub-contractors) make a "good faith effort" to award a fair share of work to DBE's who are Minority Business Enterprises (MBE's), and Women-owned Business Enterprises (WBE's) whenever procuring construction, supplies, services and equipment.

The DBE Program is an outreach, education, and goal oriented program designed to increase the participation of DBE's in procurements funded by EPA assistance agreements.  In addition, EPA regulations require evidence of the demonstration of the "Six Affirmative Steps" in trying to achieve the DBE participation goals.

Six Good Faith Efforts

  1. Ensure DBEs are made aware of contracting opportunities to the fullest extent practicable through outreach and recruitment activities.  For Indian Tribal, state and local government recipients, this will include placing DBEs on solicitation lists and soliciting them whenever they are potential sources.
  2. Make information on forthcoming opportunities available to DBEs and arrange time frames for contracts and establish delivery schedules, where the requirements permit, in a way that encourages and facilitates participation by DBEs in the competitive process.  This includes, whenever possible, posting solicitations for bids or proposals for a minimum of 30 calendar days before the bid or proposal closing date.
  3. Consider in the contracting process whether firms competing for large contracts could subcontract with DBEs.  For Indian Tribal, state and local government recipients, this will include dividing total requirements, when economically feasible, into smaller tasks or quantities to permit maximum participation by DBEs in the competitive process.
  4. Encourage contracting with a consortium of DBEs when a contract is too large for one of these firms to handle individually.
  5. Use the services and assistance of the Small Business Administration (SBE) and the Minority Business Development Agency of the Department of Commerce.
  6. If the prime contractor awards subcontracts, require the prime contractor to take the above steps.

Updated DBE Guidance and Forms

Effective December 1, 2013: The EPA has recently reissued the EPA-6100-2, EPA-6100-3, and EPA-6100-4 procurement forms for projects utilizing equivalency Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program funding.  Consultants and Prime Contractors utilizing subcontractors must include the EPA-6100-3 and EPA-6100-4 forms when requesting approval from the TWDB. Subcontractors are also encouraged to submit the EPA-6100-2 form to Debora Bradford EPA Region 6 DBE Coordinator to report any procurement/contracting concerns regarding a project.  Applicants, consultants, and contractors are still required to submit the applicable DBE forms (TWDB-0215, TWDB-0216, TWDB-0217, and TWDB-0373) until the project's completion.  For detailed instructions and resources, the TWDB's DBE Program Guidance (TWDB-0210) is available for your convenience.

DBE Compliance Policy

Entities utilizing equivalency Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program funds are required to be in compliance with the TWDB's DBE Compliance policy through all phases of the project including; Project Application, Loan Commitment and Closing, Planning/Design, and Construction Contract phases.  As of December 1, 2013, the Compliance policy has been updated to include the reissued EPA 6100-3 and 6100-4 forms.

2012 Enhancements to the EPA's DBE Program

DBE Certification Requirements

Self-Certification of MBEs and WBEs is no longer acceptable.  Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (MBEs and WBEs) must be certified by state, local, Tribal, or private entities whose certification criteria meet or exceed EPA's.  To qualify as a MBE or WBE, a firm must establish that it is at least 51% owned and/or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and are citizens of the United States.  Please note that MBE, WBE, or HUB certifications provided by the Texas Small Businesses Association or Texas Certification Directory will not be accepted by the TWDB or EPA.  The TWDB will accept certifications from the following government entities:

Please refer to "Tips for Achieving a Good Faith Effort in Procurement" for additional information.

Tips for Achieving a Good Faith Effort in Procurement

To assist entities identify, include, and utilize qualified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), applicants and prime contractors are encouraged to refer to the following list of resources made available on a local, statewide, and national level.

Resources for identifying DBE's:

Other Minority & Women Business Organizations that you can contact directly to obtain a list of qualified vendors for your procurement opportunity:

Options for announcing your solicitation:

Direct Communication - Contacting potential bidders by direct communication can include correspondence by letter, facsimile, telephone, or email to a minimum of three businesses/firms solicited for each type of contract sought (i.e. engineering, financial advisor, and bond counsel, prime construction firms).

Small Business Administration's (SBA) Sub-Net - Sub-Net is an Internet-based system that allows applicants and prime contractors to post their procurement opportunities online.  Access to the database is free to government agencies and contractors, and is an excellent resource for soliciting DBE's for your project.  The Sub-Net database can be accessed at: http://web.sba.gov/subnet

Newspaper Advertisements - The posting of applicable project procurement opportunities should be done in accordance with the notice requirements of state law on competitive bidding, where applicable.  There are specific laws governing each type of entity.  For example, two important provisions of state law governing municipalities require:

  1. The notice should be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper published in the municipality.  If no newspaper is published in the municipality, the notice must be posted at the city hall for 14 days before the date set to publicly open the bids and read them aloud;
  2. The date of the first publication should be BEFORE the 14th day of the date set to publicly open the bids.

Please consult your legal counsel for specific laws governing your entity.

Pertinent language that needs to appear within the text of the solicitation includes:

  • Any loan award is contingent upon release of funds from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
  • This contract is subject to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "fair share policy", which includes EPA-approved "fair share goals" for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women Business Enterprise (WBE) firms in the Construction, Supplies, Equipment, and Services procurement categories.  EPA's policy requires that applicants and prime contractors make a good faith effort to award a fair share of contracts, subcontracts, and procurements to Minority Business Enterprise and Women-Owned Business Enterprise firms.  Although EPA's policy does not mandate that the fair share goals be achieved, it does require applicants and prime contractors to demonstrate use of the six affirmative steps.  The current fair share goals for the State of Texas are as follows:
    CONSTRUCTION 12.94% 8.72%
    EQUIPMENT 7.12% 5.39%
    SERVICES 10.84% 5.72%
    SUPPLIES 9.68% 9.34%

When are DBE forms required?

Entities receiving federal financial assistance through the SRF Programs will be required to submit DBE documentation at different phases during the project's lifecycle (Project Application, Commitment and Closing, Planning/Design, and Construction Contract Phases).

Form Applicant Engineer, Financial Advisor, Bond/Legal Counsel Prime Contractor Prime's Subcontractors Submit Form To
TWDB-0215 Required       TWDB
TWDB-0216 Required Required if using subs Required   TWDB
TWDB-0217   Required Required   TWDB
TWDB-0373 Required Required if using subs Required   TWDB
EPA-6100-2 Not required for procurements performed after March 7, 2016 If necessary   If Necessary EPA DBE Coordinator
EPA-6100-3 Not required for procurements performed after March 7, 2016 Required if using subs   Required with Bid TWDB
EPA-6100-4 Not required for procurements performed after March 7, 2016 Required if using subs   Required with Bid TWDB

Project Application Phase

Applicants requesting federal financial assistance through the SRF funds must include a TWDB-0215 form with the loan application.

Commitment and Closing Phase

After loan commitment, but prior to closing, applicants must provide forms TWDB-0216 and TWDB-0373 forms.  The project's Prime Engineer, Financial Advisor, and Bond Counsel must complete a TWDB-0217 form and indicate if any subcontracting opportunities will be available or if the contractor will be self-performing the contract.  Regardless of the procurement's outcome, all entities must submit a TWDB-0373 and list the contractors selected by the applicant for the project.  Failure to comply or include a contractor and/or contract will result in denial of payment.

Planning and Designing Phase

Some projects require additional procurement during the planning phase for geotechnical and materials testing, pilot testing, surveying, archeological surveys, etc. Projects requiring additional procurement during the Planning and Design Phase will require submittal of the TWDB-0216, TWDB-0373, 6100-3 and 6100-4 forms.

Construction Contract Phase

For each Construction Contract, applicants are required to submit the TWDB-0216 and TWDB-0373 forms for the procurement of the Prime Contractor. If the Prime Contractor is utilizing subcontractors for the project, then additional TWDB-0216, TWDB-0373, 6100-3 and 6100-4 forms must also be submitted.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) Forms