4/29/21
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Chenault
CITIZEN CONTACT: Jessica Langdon

Central Ohio Communities Receive $286 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA for Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure Improvements

$370 Million in Low-Interest Loans Awarded Statewide in the First Quarter of 2021

Communities in Central Ohio are receiving more than $286 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 Jan. 1 and March 31, 2021. The lower interest rates will save these communities more than $39 million.

Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded more than $370 million in loans during the first quarter of 2021, including $6.75 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $57 million when compared to market-rate loans. The projects are improving Ohio’s surface water quality and the reliability and quality of Ohio drinking water systems. This funding includes assistance to local health districts to help low-income property owners repair or replace failing household sewage treatment systems.

For the first quarter of 2021, the following Central Ohio projects are receiving funding:

  • Columbus is receiving approximately $280.6 million for four projects that include constructing improvements to the sanitary sewer system in the area bounded generally by Brimfield Road, Beechcroft Road, Tamarack Blvd., and Forest Village Lane; rehabilitating sanitary sewers south of downtown Columbus and north of State Route 104; removing underground storage tanks to eliminate the risk of ground water contamination to the well field for the Parsons Ave. water treatment plant; and constructing a 17,000 linear foot tunnel to provide overflow relief to sewers from north of The Ohio State University campus to the Arena District. 
  • Plain City is receiving $295,000 to design improvements to the wastewater treatment plant, which will include constructing a new oxidation ditch, UV disinfection improvements, and a final clarifier.
  • Appalachia Ohio Alliance is receiving $4.9 million from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) for two projects. The first will protect 315 acres along the Scioto River, including the 54-acre Fleming Island. The second will protect 5,500 feet of Big Darby Creek, 8,000 feet of tributaries, and a half a mile of the Scioto River.
  • Health Departments, Districts, and County Commissions in the following counties are receiving $150,000 in principal forgiveness loans for the repair and replacement of household sewage treatment systems: Fayette, Licking, and Union counties. 

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 a market-rate loan.

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 stormwater, 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.

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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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