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Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to Improve Sewer System Through Funding from Ohio EPA; Sponsors Water Quality Projects
Ohio EPA has approved a $69.5 million low-interest loan to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) to aid in constructing combined sewer overflow storage tunnels. The Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) project will help bring NEORSD in compliance and improve the water quality of Lake Erie.
NEORSD will construct about 14,000 linear feet of storage pipe tunnel, 7,000 linear feet of sewers, 13,000 linear feet of storm sewers, three large basins in which storm water will be retained, flow regulators and other needed improvements related to the structures listed above. The project will connect to existing and projected storage tunnels within the service area, reducing the incidences of overflows due to combined storm and sewage piping.
Created in 1989, WPCLF has provided below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their sewer systems. The reduced interest rate on the $69.5 million loan, along with the WRRSP discount, will save NEORSD $10.8 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, NEORSD is sponsoring the following projects:
- Cleveland Metroparks work in the Acacia Reservation will be supported, which includes funding to restore 1,300 linear feet of Euclid Creek, 3.5 acres of connected flood plain, and 14.3 acres of wetland swales. The restoration will bring the area into attainment of the waterway’s designated warmwater habitat aquatic life use goal.
- The Natural Areas Land Conservancy will acquire 133 acres of Beaver Creek – Bass Lake connector, located in Geauga County. The property supports 26.6 acres of best quality wetlands, 1,917 linear feet of Beaver Creek, 1,770 linear feet of best quality headwater streams and 6,555 linear feet of smaller tributary streams.
- The Ohio Valley Conservation Coalition will acquire 75 acres of bog lands adjacent to the existing Kent Bog State Nature Preserve in Portage County, including invasive species control and other limited site restoration work. This acquisition will protect the remaining 58 acres allowing the entire rare, extremely high quality bog to be protected. And
- The Western Reserve Land Conservancy will acquire 602 acres of the Turkey Creek estuary along Lake Erie, just east of Conneaut in Ashtabula County, which contains 248 acres of high quality wetlands, 1.6 miles of Turkey Creek, 3,050 linear feet of unnamed tributaries to Turkey Creek and 4,900 linear feet of Lake Erie coastline.
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 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.