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Northeast Ohio Communities Receive $183 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA to Improve Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure
$887 Million in Low-Interest Loans Were Awarded Statewide in 2020
Communities in Northeast Ohio are receiving approximately $183 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 Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $32 million.
Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $303.8 million in loans during the fourth quarter of 2020, including $19.2 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $61.2 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.
Ohio EPA provided approximately $887 million for public works projects in 2020, saving communities more than $150 million in interest when compared to market-rate loans. This includes $10.8 million in principal forgiveness loans to 75 local health districts to help lower income homeowners repair or replace failing home sewage systems.
For the fourth quarter of 2020, the following Northeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:
- Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is receiving $43.8 million for three projects, to include constructing a sewer to relieve surcharging conditions along the Morgana Run Culvert; constructing relief sewers on Seymour Avenue from West 30th Street to Scranton Road and Castle Avenue from West 11th Street to Clark Field; and constructing the Westerly Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station to reduce the annual frequency of overflows.
- Akron is receiving $64.3 million for eight projects, to include replacing the Quaker Ridge pump station; reconstruct existing sanitary and combined sewers by cured-in-place pipe lining; examine corrosion and condition of steel transmission mains in the water distribution system; complete a study to determine additional treatment methods; replace lead and galvanized steel lines; install an integrated advanced metering infrastructure system; conduct a risk assessment; and develop or update emergency response plans. The loans include $1 million in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- Warren is receiving $44.9 million for infrastructure improvements at the city’s pump stations and wastewater treatment plant. The upgrades will provide more efficient treatment and increase reliability.
- Summit County is receiving $12.1 million for two projects, to include designing a vacuum sewer system and pump station to eliminate failing home sewage treatment systems and construct a new fleet and equipment maintenance facility.
- West Farmington is receiving $7.6 million to construct a new gravity collection system and an aeration wastewater treatment plant. The loan includes $4 million in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- Louisville is receiving $5.4 million to replace four raw sewage pumps, a force main and flow meter, expand the equalization tank and install two additional mixers, install concrete lining to the equalization basin, and construct a new grit removal facility.
- Aqua Ohio Inc. is receiving $3.8 million to extend the waterline from Green to New Franklin in Summit County. The loan includes $1.9 million in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- Lorain is receiving $457,000 to increase the efficiency and capacity of the Martin’s Run pump station to handle current and future flow levels.
- Fairview Park is receiving $450,000 for a planning study to alleviate chronic wet weather basement flooding.
- Munroe Falls is receiving $92,000 to upgrade existing booster pump stations and replace a waterline.
- East Palestine is receiving $61,000 to develop a water model of the village to determine sources of insufficient source quality and pressure throughout the system before replacing approximately 20,000 linear feet of waterline.
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.