5/17/21
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: James Lee
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron

Ohio EPA Releases Draft 2022 Drinking Water Assistance Fund Program Management Plan

Ohio EPA will hold virtual public hearings on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to accept public comments on the Draft 2022 Program Management Plan for the Drinking Water Assistance Fund (DWAF). The fund provides financial and technical assistance for a variety of projects that help improve or protect the quality of Ohio's drinking water. 

During the virtual hearings, the public can submit written comments on the record about the proposed plan. Citizens who want to participate must register online in advance of the meetings. (The 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. hearings have separate online registration pages.) On the day of the hearing, registered participants should join 10 minutes before the start time to ensure proper connectivity.

For DWAF program year 2022, which runs from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, Ohio EPA received project nominations totaling more than $800 million. It is anticipated funding will be available to all applicants that meet program requirements and are ready to proceed.

Ohio EPA plans to offer up to $13.5 million in principal forgiveness to eligible projects. Principal forgiveness is the portion of a loan that is not required to be repaid. High-scoring disadvantaged community and regionalization projects will be prioritized to receive principal forgiveness. An additional $15 million in principal forgiveness is available for lead service line replacement projects.

Ohio EPA is proposing to offer discounted loans for projects addressing Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) and Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) issues, lead service line replacement and regionalization projects.

In addition to projects identified in the Draft 2022 Program Management Plan, the following may be nominated any time during the program year: planning and design, lead service line replacement, HAB, and PFAS projects. 

The primary sources of funds in the DWAF program are proceeds from bond issues, repayments of previously awarded loans and annual federal capitalization grants. Additional principal forgiveness and grant funding from other sources may be available during the program year. More information is available in the highlights section of the Program Management Plan.

The Draft 2022 Program Management Plan is available for review or download at https://epa.ohio.gov/defa/ofa, by contacting defamail@epa.ohio.gov, or calling (614) 644-2798. Written comments may be submitted during the virtual public hearing or emailed to defamail@epa.ohio.gov. All comments must be received by close of business June 16, 2021.

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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.

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