Ohio EPA Assists City of Akron with Sewer Improvements

Zero and Low-Interest Loans Will Save City $18 Million and Reduce Combined Sewer Overflows

Ohio EPA is providing six loans to the City of Akron for continued upgrades to the city’s sewer system. The loans, totaling more than $51 million, will help the city achieve its goal of dramatically reducing the number of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that release to the local waterways during periods of heavy precipitation.

The loan amounts and projects include:

  • $21,834,256 to construct the 2.4-million-gallon Howard Storage Basin and eliminate CSOs in the Rack 22 drainage area;
  • $17,927,955 for professional services to assist the city with implementation of CSO requirements under the long-term control plan and federal consent decree;
  • $5,994,198 to design headworks improvements and $1,098,300 to design storm water retention tank improvements and add chemically enhanced primary treatment at the Akron Water Reclamation Facility; 
  • $2,197,301 to design the 4.5-million-gallon Hazel Storage Basin and eliminate CSOs in the Racks 10 and 11 drainage areas; and
  • $2,094,767 to design modifications to the CSO Rack 3 underflow and improve combined sewage conveyance to the interceptor sewer.

The loans through Ohio EPA’s Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) carry interest rates that range from 0 to 2.33 percent. The low interest rates will save the city more than $18 million compared to market-rate loans.

Since 1995, Ohio EPA has provided Akron with 66 WPCLF loans totaling more than $700 million. The zero and low-interest loans have saved the city more than $100 million as it continues efforts to eliminate CSOs and improve water quality.

Created in 1989, the WPCLF provides below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their wastewater treatment systems. WPCLF loans are used for many purposes such as improvements to publicly owned treatment works and home sewage treatment systems, water quality-based storm water projects, agricultural best management practices, and landfill closures. 

The WPCLF provides technical assistance to public wastewater systems in a variety of areas from the planning, design and construction of improvements to enhancing 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 EPA’s revolving loan funds are partially supported by federal grants and designed to last indefinitely through repayment of loans and investments in bonds. The loan program is managed by Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, with help 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 fund. 

More information about the WPCLF 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.

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