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Northeast Ohio Communities Receive $50.8 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA to Improve Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure
Communities in Northeast Ohio are receiving a total of $50.8 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, 2020. The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $8.4 million.
Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $122.9 million in loans during the third quarter of 2020, including $11.4 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $28 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. Thus far for 2020, Ohio EPA has awarded assistance for home septic treatment to 75 counties and communities throughout the state.
For the third quarter of 2020, the following Northeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:
- Geauga County is receiving $4.5 million to construct a sanitary sewer system to the Berkshire Heights subdivision.
- Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is receiving $17.1 million for multiple projects, which include repairing or replacing roofs across the District’s wastewater treatment plants, reconfiguring and adjusting existing flow regulators, installing relief sewers, improving the disinfection and solids handling unit, upgrading fiber networks at two wastewater treatment plants, and modifying several hydraulic structures.
- Akron is receiving $16.7 million for three loans to construct water service connections to 11 public water systems, line existing sanitary and combined sewers, and plan level work to advance the northside sewer separation and conveyance program. The loans include $299,000 in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- New Waterford is receiving $2.3 million for two loans to replace deteriorating waterlines, valves, and hydrants; and to develop new wells and replace the existing treatment plant to supply water to the new school and community center. The loans include $1.1 million in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid. Additionally, New Waterford is receiving $500,000 in H2Ohio funding for this project.
- Alliance is receiving $979,000 to design and construct aeration and ventilation equipment to the drinking water treatment plant clearwell.
- Elyria is receiving $4.6 million to construct the first portion of the East Side Relief Sewer to carry flow to the Elyria Wastewater Treatment Plant.
- Cleveland Museum of Natural History is receiving $236,000 to continue the restoration efforts of Mentor Marsh. The project will treat 54 acres with spraying for invasive species and spot treatment and large-scale planting of native plants. This loan is through Ohio EPA’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.
- Warren is receiving $1.9 million for two loans to close sanitary sewer overflows, providing necessary relief to the existing sewer, relieving bottlenecks, and reducing basement flooding.
- Chagrin Falls is receiving $2.1 million to construct improvements to the village’s wastewater treatment plant.
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.