The Resource rss

Helping communities and businesses access compliance, technical and financial assistance for their environmental needs.


The New DEFA — Enhancing Ohio EPA's Service to Businesses and Communities

In May 2015, Ohio EPA merged its Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) and its Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) to create a “one-stop shop” for customers seeking our technical and financial resources to help them achieve compliance.

“This approach will both enhance the way in which we serve our customers and improve our own internal operations through a more efficient, coordinated and strategic approach to administering resources. By realigning some of our key compliance and funding programs, Ohio EPA will be better positioned to help even more regulated entities with a greater level of service,” stated Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler.

The new division retains the name of DEFA, but now houses several of the Agency’s core programs that support compliance and community development. Key programs and activities for DEFA include:

  • Administering our State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan programs to help communities construct and maintain wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. Over our 25 year history, Ohio EPA’s SRF programs have facilitated loans totaling more than $7.2 billion for construction and improvements to public wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. The new division will administer both the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) and Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) programs.
  • Providing technical assistance to help small community wastewater treatment plants improve operations and efficiency.
  • Helping thousands of small businesses annually comply with environmental regulations through on-site assistance, help completing forms, training events, plain-English publications and other services.
  • Helping entities identify and implement pollution prevention (P2) measures that save them money, increase performance and benefit the environment.
  • Providing funding for recycling, litter cleanup and scrap tire management activities, and identifying market development opportunities to support Ohio's efforts to recycle materials such as glass, plastics, rubber and construction and demolition debris.
  • Recognizing the outstanding efforts of businesses, communities and other entities making a commitment to environmental stewardship through our Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Program.

Three main offices comprising the new DEFA include the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP), Office of Financial Assistance (OFA) and Office of Outreach and Customer Support (OCS).

OCAPP will continue to focus on compliance assistance, pollution prevention and statewide recycling market development. OFA will administer the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF), Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WRSLA) and the recycling and litter prevention grant program. Through OCS, a newly created office within DEFA, we will have a more proactive approach in reaching out to Ohio’s businesses and communities to share information about our services. It is important that our regulated entities not only understand what resources are available, but that we make ourselves available to guide them through the process of getting help so that we can more fully meet their needs.

 

 

Figure 1 Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance Functional Table of Organization

 

The reorganization effort has required a significant level of planning, and the implementation process to fully bring everything together will take some time. However, I am confident that bringing these resources together under one division will not only improve our responsiveness, but also increase the level and range of services we can provide,” said Director Butler.

For more information on the new DEFA, visit www.epa.ohio.gov/defa/.