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Northwest Ohio Communities Receive $51 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA for Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure Improvements
Communities in Northwest Ohio received more than $51 million in low-interest rate funding from Ohio EPA to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and make other water quality improvements. The loans were approved between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018.
The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $7.5 million. Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $188 million in loans during the fourth quarter of the year, including $10 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $37 million when compared to market-rate loans.
Ohio EPA provided approximately $795 million for public works projects throughout 2018. More than $161 million was awarded to northwest Ohio communities in 2018. The projects are improving Ohio’s surface water quality and the reliability and quality of Ohio drinking water systems.
For the fourth quarter 2018, the following Northwest Ohio projects are receiving funding:
- Toledo is receiving three loans. A $44.7 million loan will fund construction of new ozone treatment facilities for the east and west drinking water treatment plants to oxidize harmful algal bloom contaminants. The city also is receiving a $3.9 million loan to separate combined sewers in the Paine and Fassett Roads neighborhoods and provide backwater protection at the combined sewer overflow outfall. The third loan is for $2.5 million to build a sewage storage basin in International Park.
- Port Clinton is receiving $269,000 in funding to expand and enhance coastal wetlands along the Lake Erie shoreline in the city. The restoration will produce wetland habitat of significantly higher functional value than what currently exists in the project site. The funding is from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP). Through the WRRSP, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland is directing a portion of the interest to be repaid on its Southerly Second Storage Basin project loan be used for the wetland restoration project.
- Monroeville is receiving $115,000 to construct an emergency interconnection waterline between the village and Northern Ohio Rural Water.
- Kenton ($75,900), Greenwich ($18,800), and Grand Rapids ($18,900) each are receiving interest-free loans to complete asset management plans for their drinking water systems. Additionally, $10,000 of each loan is principal forgiveness, meaning it does not have to be repaid.
Created in 1989, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) helps communities improve their wastewater treatment systems. The Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA), started in 1998, provides loans for improvements to community drinking water systems and nonprofit, noncommunity public water systems. Both programs offer below-market interest rate loans, which can save communities a substantial amount of money compared to market-rate loans.
Ohio EPA’s state revolving fund (SRF) loans are provided to communities to build and upgrade wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, upgrade home sewage treatment systems, better manage storm water, address combined sewer overflows and implement other water quality-related projects. Financial assistance helps support planning, design and construction activities and enhances 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’s SRF loan programs are partially supported by annual federal capitalization grants and have grown substantially over time because of the revolving nature of the loan issuance and payments back into the fund. The SRF programs are 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 SRF funds.
More information about the SRF loan program 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.