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U.S. EPA Recognizes Akron’s Water Quality Improvements and Innovation

In November, Director Butler presented U.S. EPA’s Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Award to the City of Akron for its Howard Storage Basin project. U.S. EPA recognizes excellence and innovation within the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program with the PISCES Award, and Akron was identified as one of five in the Exceptional category.

At a cost of $21.8 million, the Howard Storage Basin project includes constructing a 2.4 million-gallon concrete storage basin to reduce combined sewer overflows into the Little Cuyahoga River.

To help make the project more affordable, Akron took advantage of two new incentives available through the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF), namely, combined sewer overflow funds offered at a zero percent interest rate and a 45-year extended term to spread the repayment over a longer period. Akron also received an additional 0.1 percent interest rate discount when the project helped sponsor three Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) projects to protect a river corridor, restore wetlands and remove a dam.

Combining these incentives yielded an overall blended interest rate of 0.93 percent for the 45-year loan. As a result, using the WPCLF program will save Akron approximately $16.9 million in interest when compared to the market rate of 3.68 percent.

Since 2011, Ohio EPA has awarded the City of Akron 59 low-interest loans for wastewater projects totaling more than $658 million through the WPCLF. For more information, please contact Dan Halterman at (614) 644-3658.

Workers prepare for installation of the automatic flush system that will wash down the basin after each combined sewage storage event.

 Aerial view of Akron’s Howard Street Storage Basin under construction.