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Central Ohio Communities Receive $57 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA to Improve Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure
Communities in Central Ohio are receiving $57 million in low-interest and principal forgiveness funding from Ohio EPA to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and make other water quality improvements. The loans were approved between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2018.
The lower interest rates and forgiven principal will save these communities more than $8.6 million. Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $174 million in loans during the third quarter of the year, including $6.6 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $34.3 million compared to market-rate loans.
The following Central Ohio projects are receiving funding:
- Franklin County is receiving $885,000, interest-free, to design the replacement of 5.5 miles of water distribution infrastructure throughout the Little Farms subdivision in Prairie Township. In addition, the county is receiving $687,000, including $50,000 in principal forgiveness, to construct a pump station and force main to redirect wastewater to the Darbydale wastewater treatment plant, following decommissioning of the Oakhurst Knolls plant.
- Columbus is receiving $52.5 million in loans to make improvements to water main lines, rehabilitate sewer lateral and trunk lines and provide power generators at the Dublin Road Water Plant. Columbus will also use funding to rehabilitate sewers as part of the Blueprint Clintonville project.
- Circleville is receiving $1.3 million, interest-free, to replace membranes and install more energy efficient aeration blowers in the wastewater treatment plant.
- Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District is receiving $1.8 million to construct water main lines.
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 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.