11/8/19
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron

Ohio EPA Proposes 2020 Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Program Management Plan

Public Hearing set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 14, 2019

Ohio EPA will hold a meeting on Nov. 14 to discuss the Agency’s draft 2020 Program Management Plan for the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF). The fund provides financial and technical assistance for wastewater infrastructure and restoration projects that improve the quality of Ohio's rivers, streams, lakes and other water bodies.

The 1:30 p.m. meeting will be held in Ohio EPA’s Conference Center – Autumn Room, Sixth Floor, Lazarus Government Center, 50 West Town Street, Columbus. Attendees wanting to testify may do so verbally or in writing. Written comments also are being accepted by mail and should be addressed to Ohio EPA, Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, or emailed to defamail@epa.ohio.gov. All comments must be received by the close of business on Nov. 14, 2019.

Since 2011, Ohio has invested more than $4.2 billion in WPCLF funding for key infrastructure and restoration projects to improve water quality statewide. For this coming year, Ohio EPA received project nominations which total more than $1.9 billion and will make loan funds available to all applicants that meet program requirements.

Up to $35.7 million will be available in 2020 for principal forgiveness (the portion of a loan that a borrower does not have to repay). Principal forgiveness funding will be directed toward wastewater regionalization projects ($15 million), home sewage treatment systems ($11 million), other wastewater-related projects (approximately $9.4 million), and back-up power facilities ($250,000).

Highlights of the proposed program for 2020 include:

  • making a one-time allotment of $3.3 million available as part of a new initiative called the Urban Corridor Dam Restoration to assist collaborative community efforts to remove multiple dams from streams within their collective urban corridors;
  • offering $50 million (interest-free) to promote regional approaches to managing wastewater infrastructure;
  • continuing the effort to manage harmful algal blooms, Ohio EPA again is offering $50 million (interest-free) for nutrient reduction projects that include equipment and facilities to reduce discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen that contribute to blooms; and,
  • allocating up to $15 million to fund projects under the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program in which borrowers divert a portion of a loan’s estimated interest payment toward projects that help counter the loss of ecological function and biological diversity of Ohio’s water resources.

Except for planning, design and nutrient reduction loans, all projects eligible to receive 2020 funding must have been nominated by Aug. 31, 2019. The primary sources of WPCLF assistance are proceeds from bond issues, available loan repayments and federal capitalization grants. Ohio EPA may issue revenue bonds to help in meeting the coming year’s funding requests.

Copies of the draft 2020 program management plan are available on the web or by contacting defamail@epa.ohio.gov or calling (614) 644-3636. 

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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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