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Akron to Improve Sewer System Through Funding from Ohio EPA; Sponsors Water Quality Project
Ohio EPA has approved a $14.68 million loan for the city of Akron to assist in the construction of the Merriman sewer separation project. The Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) project will help bring Akron into compliance and improve the water quality of the Cuyahoga River.
Akron will eliminate the city’s Rack 36 combined sewer overflow through a full separation of combined sewers in the service area and construction of a storm water detention wetland. Construction is expected to be completed in September 2017.
Created in 1989, WPCLF has provided below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their sewer systems. The reduced interest rate on the $14.68 million loan, along with the WRRSP discount will save Akron $3.8 million.
In addition to sewer system improvements, WPCLF loans have been provided for agricultural best management practices, home sewage system improvements, landfill closures and water quality-based storm water projects. The WPCLF provides technical assistance to public wastewater systems in a variety of areas from planning, design and construction of improvements to enhancing the systems’ technical, managerial and financial capacity. WPCLF loans also make possible the restoration and protection of some of Ohio’s highest quality water bodies through the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP).
As part of this loan, Akron is sponsoring Medina County Park District’s purchase of Bear Swamp Wetlands Preserve using a WRRSP acquisition fee to purchase 237 acres of land including 73 acres of Category 3 wetlands, and associated streams and upland forested buffers. The Medina County Park District will manage the Bear Swamp Wetlands Preserve as a natural area under the terms of the environmental covenant, ensuring long-term protection of these high quality water resources and downstream receiving waters.
Ohio EPA’s revolving loan funds are partially supported by federal grants designed to last indefinitely through repayment of loans and investments in bonds. The loan program is managed by Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, with help from the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA). Ohio EPA is responsible for program development and implementation, individual project coordination and environmental and other technical reviews or approvals of projects seeking funds. OWDA provides financial management of the fund.
More information about the WPCLF is available at: www.epa.ohio.gov/defa/EnvironmentalandFinancialAssistance.aspx.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.