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Akron to Improve Sewage System, Receives Funding from Ohio EPA
Akron will construct a 6.5 million gallon wet weather overflow basin to add to the city’s wastewater treatment system. The project will help bring Akron into compliance and improve water quality in the Little Cuyahoga River. The improvements are being funded with a low-interest loan from Ohio EPA.
The new basin will help eliminate combined sewer overflows to the Little Cuyahoga. Construction is to begin this month, and will be completed in late 2017. Together, with related sewer separation and improvement projects, the construction of the increased capacity unit will significantly enhance the water quality in this portion of the Little Cuyahoga River.
In addition to local water quality benefits, the loan allows Akron to support the Toledo Metropolitan Park District’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program (WRRSP) project. Akron’s sponsorship enables the purchase of 117-acres of important water resource habitat, including 60-acres of unique and imperiled Category 3 (best quality) wetlands near Swanton in Fulton County. This is a critical part of the park district’s ongoing work to acquire and protect high-quality wetlands adjacent to the region’s largest remaining, protected expanse of the nationally recognized Oak Openings ecosystem.
Created in 1989, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) provides below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their wastewater treatment systems. The reduced interest rate on the $31.6 million dollar loan along with the WRRSP discount will save Akron about $4.8 million compared to a conventional market-rate loan.
Besides improvements to publicly-owned treatment works, 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 the planning, design and construction of improvements to enhancing 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 WRRSP.
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/approvals of projects seeking funds. OWDA provides financial management of the fund.
More information about the WPCLF 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.