Public Hearing set for January 18, 2023
Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing on Jan. 18, 2023, to discuss the Agency’s draft 2023 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.
Participants can attend the 2:30 p.m. hearing in-person or virtually. The in-person meeting is at Ohio EPA Central Office, Conference Room A, Suite 700, 50 W. Town St., Columbus. Anyone planning to attend in-person should bring a photo ID. Those attending virtually must register in advance for the meeting at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4565417897117897310. During the hearing, the public can submit comments on the record about the proposed plan.
For this coming year, Ohio EPA received a record number of project nominations totaling more than $2.8 billion. Loan funds are available to all applicants who are ready to proceed in program year 2023.
Up to $75 million will be available in 2023 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, home sewage treatment systems, other wastewater-related projects, and backup power facilities.
Highlights of the proposed program for 2023 include:
- additional capitalization grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law;
- revisions to affordability criteria to include large communities (more than 10,000 population) and updated socio-economic benchmarks;
- offering $50 million at zero percent interest to promote regional approaches to managing wastewater infrastructure;
- continuing the effort to manage harmful algal blooms by again offering $50 million at zero percent interest for nutrient reduction projects that include equipment and facilities to reduce discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen that contribute to blooms; and,
- allocating up to $23 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 2023 funding must have been nominated by Aug. 31, 2022. 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 2023 Program Management Plan are available on the web or by calling (614) 644-3636. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com. All comments must be received by the close of business on Jan 18, 2023.
To request a reasonable accommodation due to a disability, visit: epa.ohio.gov/ada.
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.