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Southeast Ohio Communities Receive $11.2 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA for Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure Improvements
$97.8 Million in Low-Interest Loans Awarded in the Second Quarter of 2021
Communities in Southeast Ohio are receiving more than $11.2 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 April 1 and June 30, 2021. Lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $12.1 million.
Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded more than $97.8 million in loans during the second quarter of 2021, including $17 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $30 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 second quarter of 2021, the following Southeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:
- Nelsonville is receiving $3 million to construct a new wastewater treatment plant to tie in multiple neighboring communities, which are served by failing onsite septic systems. The entire loan is principal forgiveness, meaning the amount does not have to be repaid.
- Manchester is receiving $2.1 million for two projects: the design to replace water lines due to breakage and water loss, and rehabilitate existing pumps and a water tank; and to make upgrades to the sanitary sewer system. The loan includes $1.9 million in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- West Union is receiving $425,548 to fund a design that will bring approximately 40 homes and businesses into the West Union sewer system, eliminating their septic systems.
- Twin City Water and Sewer District is receiving $348,843 to replace aged cast iron pipe with new pipe, which will reduce mechanical connections and replace lead pipe in the project right-of-way. The loan includes $220,300 in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- Lowell is receiving $150,180 to replace old water lines. One hundred percent of the loan is principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid. The project also received a $200,000 H2Ohio grant.
- Bridgeport is receiving $652,543 to install a booster station and water main to connect Bridgeport to Martins Ferry’s finished drinking water supply. One hundred percent of the loan is principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
- Athens County is receiving $4 million to install a gravity sewer collection system, a force main, and two lift stations in the Happy Valley and Baker Road areas. One hundred percent of the loan is principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid. The project also received a $500,000 H2Ohio grant.
- 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: Athens, Jefferson, Lawrence, and Pike 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.
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.