1/29/21
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Chenault
CITIZEN CONTACT: Jessica Langdon

Southeast Ohio Communities Receive $15.1 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA to Improve Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure

$887 Million in Low-Interest Loans Were Awarded Statewide in 2020

Communities in Southeast Ohio are receiving more than $15.1 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, 2020. The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $10 million. 

Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $303.8 million in loans during the fourth quarter of 2020, including $19.2 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $61.2 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. 

Ohio EPA provided approximately $887 million for public works projects in 2020, saving communities more than $150 million in interest when compared to market-rate loans. This includes $10.8 million in principal forgiveness loans to 75 local health districts to help lower income homeowners repair or replace failing home sewage systems.

For the fourth quarter of 2020, the following Southeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:

  • Pomeroy is receiving $3.7 million for two projects, to include installing a backup generator and constructing a gravity sewer to tie unsewered areas into the existing sewer. The entire loan will be issued with principal forgiveness, meaning it does not have to be repaid.
  • Athens is receiving $3 million to design and construct a more efficient and cost-effective process for the conveyance, treatment, and handling of biosolids.
  • Hocking County is receiving $5.2 million to install a sanitary sewer collection line, manholes, pump stations, and connection to Logan sewers to serve 182 users with failing or deficient home sewage treatment systems in Enterprise. The loan includes $4 million in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
  • Washington County is receiving $2.6 million to design Devola sanitary sewer improvements.
  • New Boston is receiving $258,000 to line manholes and sewers as part of the combined sewer overflow improvement project. The entire loan will be issued with principal forgiveness, meaning it does not have to be repaid.
  • Hopedale is receiving $124,000 to extend the waterline along the south side of Rabbit Road between Mill Street and West Main Street. 
  • Piketon is receiving $47,963 to assess its water treatment and distribution system to assist in modernizing the facility.

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.

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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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