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Ohio EPA is Addressing Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) with Loan Discounts and Grant Money

Initiated in the latter part of 2014, Ohio EPA’s special financing initiatives to help address harmful algal blooms (HABs) through its drinking water and clean water state revolving fund loan programs have now been assisting Ohio’s communities for over half a year. For the 2015 program year, $50 million in 0% interest rate loans are being offered to public water systems through the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) to help plan, design and/or construct HAB-related infrastructure improvements at surface (drinking) water treatment plants, particularly those in the Lake Erie basin and other locations with HAB problems. Qualifying projects include such things as direct treatment for HAB toxins, as well as avoidance strategies like interconnections with other water supplies, new elevated storage facilities, and installation of source water alternatives. An additional $50 million in similar WSRLA 0% HAB funding is being made available for program year 2016. As of the end of July, WSRLA-funded HAB project recipients include Avon Lake, Celina, Greenville, Oregon, and Toledo.

On the wastewater side, reductions in phosphorus and other nutrients discharged by wastewater treatment systems is the goal of the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund’s (WPCLF) special Nutrient Reduction Discount (NRD). For 2015, $100 million in 0% interest rate loans are being offered to publically-owned wastewater treatment systems to help reduce their discharge of nutrients that can feed the algae contributing to HABs. Planning, design, and construction loans are all available for treatment works processes that add - or enhance - processes to remove phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients from the effluent being discharged to lakes and streams. Like the WSRLA, the WPCLF program will also be including this special funding incentive again for 2016 projects, with another $100 million in loans being offered at 0% interest. To date, communities receiving NRD funding through the WPCLF include Ashtabula, Bellville, Danville, Franklin County, Massillon, and West Jefferson.

For more information, visit: epa.ohio.gov/HAB_funding.aspx, email or call Jon Bernstein at (614) 644-3715, or email or call Susan Schell, at (614) 752-9725.