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Northeast Ohio Communities Receive $98.8 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA to Improve Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure
Communities in Northeast Ohio are receiving $98.8 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 Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018.
The lower interest rates and forgiven principal will save these communities more than $15 million. Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $188 million in loans during the third quarter of the year, including $10.4 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $37.1 million when compared to market-rate loans.
Ohio EPA provided approximately $795 million for public works projects throughout 2018. More than $411 million was awarded to northeast Ohio communities in 2018. The projects are improving Ohio’s surface water quality and the reliability and quality of Ohio drinking water systems.
For the fourth quarter 2018, the following Northeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:
- Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is receiving $58.2 million for three projects. One will construct relief/consolidation sewer pipe, another will rehabilitate and replace sludge collectors at the Southerly wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), and the third will design approximately 15,000 linear feet of combined sewer overflow storage tunnel, six tunnel shafts and multiple near surface sewer diversion and gate control structures. In addition, a portion of the interest to be repaid on the Southerly WWTP loan is being directed to the Port Clinton coastal wetland restoration project funded through the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.
- Lakewood is receiving $18 million, including $50,000 in principal forgiveness, to construct a high-rate treatment facility adjacent to the Lakewood wastewater treatment plant.
- Youngstown is receiving $11.9 million for two projects, one to install 5,480 linear feet of sewer, 10 junction chambers and replace an existing 84-inch interceptor sewer. The city will also replace the existing chlorine disinfection system and the sulfur dioxide de-chlorination system with an ultraviolet disinfection system at the wastewater treatment plant.
- Akron is receiving $7.1 million to replace a 16-inch water main and lead service lines throughout the distribution system, and to rehabilitate sanitary and combined sewers and manholes within the city.
- East Palestine is receiving $1.4 million to improve the water treatment plant to tie in a fourth well and put the well into a usage rotation.
- Geneva is receiving $1 million to install a glass-lined metal storage tank to replace the secondary sludge holding tank, helping to improve wastewater treatment at the plant.
- Barberton is receiving $590,000 to eliminate the existing Norton Acres Package Plant and direct the wastewater flow to the Barberton wastewater treatment plant.
- East Liverpool is receiving $200,000 to improve structural and interior damages to the water intake structure that occurred from a barge collision.
- Lorain is receiving $173,000 for improvements to the Martin Run pump station and equalization basins and $24,000 in a supplemental loan for a project to install a new water main to correct low pressure issues in the Red Hill district.
- Columbiana ($20,170), Marshallville ($32,033) and Killbuck ($27,062) each are receiving interest-free loans to complete asset management plans for their drinking water systems. Additionally, $10,000 of each loan is principal forgiveness, meaning it does not have to be repaid.
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.