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Toledo Continues Combined Sewer Overflow Elimination Projects with Financing from Ohio EPA
Toledo has received two loans from Ohio EPA to finance combined sewer overflow (CSO) elimination projects, part of the city’s Toledo Waterways Initiative. The loans are among 25 projects statewide that received funding from Ohio EPA in July, totaling $475 million, a one-month record for the loan programs.
The larger loan, for $50.56 million, is financing construction of a 17-million gallon underground combined sewage storage basin in downtown Toledo adjacent to the Maumee River. The project will eliminate one CSO by temporarily storing combined storm and sanitary sewage that otherwise would discharge directly to the Maumee River.
Toledo also elected to direct a portion of the interest it will repay to fund Toledo Metroparks’ Oak Openings Flatwoods Swamp project. Through Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP), Toledo will receive an additional 0.1 percent interest rate discount. Toledo’s sponsorship will provide $366,500 to purchase and protect 32 acres in Swanton Township that includes 14 acres of high quality wetlands in the headwaters of Swan Creek.
The other loan, for $10.18 million, is to separate sewers in the Swan Creek North area. New storm sewers, manholes and catch basins will be built to remove storm water from combined sewers. The combined sewers will become sanitary sewers. The project includes bioswales to filter storm water, reducing nutrient and sediment runoff.
Created in 1989, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) provides below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their wastewater treatment systems. The larger loan includes a blended interest rate of 1.48 percent, including interest-free financing for the CSO improvements and the WRRSP project discount. The second loan has the standard 2 percent interest rate.
The lower interest rates on both loans will save Toledo an estimated $12.2 million compared to market-rate loans. Toledo also is receiving a combined $3.96 million in funding assistance from the Ohio Public Works Commission.
In addition to improvements to publicly owned treatment works, 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 the planning, design and construction of improvements to enhancing the technical, managerial and financial capacity of these systems. WPCLF loans also make possible the restoration and protection of some of Ohio’s highest quality water bodies through the fund’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.
Ohio EPA’s revolving loan funds are partially supported by federal grants and 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 assistance from the Ohio Water Development Authority. Ohio EPA is responsible for program development and implementation, individual project coordination, and environmental and other technical reviews/approvals of projects seeking funds. The Ohio Water Development Authority provides financial management of the fund.
More information about the WPCLF is available at: 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.