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

Northeast Ohio Communities Receive $44.7 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 Northeast Ohio are receiving more than $44 million in low-interest rate 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 Jan. 1 and March 31, 2021. The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $9 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 Northeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:

  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is receiving $8.8 million for four projects, which include replacing two pneumatic ejectors, expanding a wet well and building code upgrades at the Dille Ave. and Barberton Creek pump stations; constructing 1,000 linear feet of combined sewer overflow piping along Interstate 77; designing the replacement of approximately 2,400 linear feet of corrugated metal arch culverted stream within the Big Creek West Branch watershed; and designing methods to reduce electrical utility costs at the Easterly and Westerly wastewater treatment plants.
  • Akron is receiving $47,128 to determine the feasibility of various options to improve the Akron water treatment plant operations. 
  • Wellington is receiving $1.3 million to replace aging ground-level storage tanks, as well as drive units and motors for four raw water pumps. The loan includes $580,915 in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid. 
  • Trumbull County is receiving $22.2 million for two projects. The first is to construct approximately 3,750 linear feet of mainline sanitary sewer pipe to service approximately 25 residences in Vienna Township. The second will improve the Brookfield wastewater treatment plant.
  • Elyria is receiving $922,062 to replace lead water lines. The loan includes $886,325 in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
  • ABC Water and Stormwater District is receiving $35,900 to design stormwater infrastructure improvements along Pebble Beach Court in Canfield Township.
  • Lorain is receiving $10.1 million for two projects. The first project will install new water mains and replace water mains to correct low pressure issues in the Red Hill district. The other project will refurbish three wastewater primary clarifiers and replace yard lighting, walkways, and handrails at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The drinking water loan includes $479,660 in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
  • 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: Columbiana, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Portage, Stark, and Wayne 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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