The Resource rss

Helping communities and businesses access compliance, technical and financial assistance for their environmental needs.

Since the creation of the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) in 1989 and the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) in 1998 Ohio has received a grant from the federal government to be used as seed money for these state revolving funds (SRF). Grants require a 20 percent state match and funds are then provided to Ohio communities and public water systems for infrastructure projects. These loans are paid back into the WPCLF and WSRLA allowing for additional loans to be provided.

Over time as the SRFs have grown, the amount of federal funding that feeds the program has decreased so that now the annual federal grants provide only about 15-20 percent of the total funds loaned out. The rest is state matching funds, funds from loan repayments and leveraged bond funds. Although this portion seems small, the annual federal grants are critical because they help to cover administrative costs, subsidize the extremely low interest rates offered, and – most importantly – dictate how much principal forgiveness the WPCLF and WSRLA can offer each year.

In the federal fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget, Congress continues to appropriate significant funds for the SRF programs. Congress increased spending on the SRF programs nationally by an additional $300 million compared to the FY 2017 budget. What this means for Ohio is that our Clean Water (WPCLF) SRF grant will be around $90 million, of which a maximum of about $36 million can be used as principal forgiveness. The Drinking Water (WSRLA) SRF grant will be almost $28 million, of which around $13.9 million can be used for principal forgiveness. Ohio has already applied for these grants and expects them to be awarded in August 2018. We will use the FY 2018 grants for loans awarded in the 2019 program years. This is just one of the ways Ohio manages the SRF programs to provide the maximum benefits for our customers now, while maintaining the long-term fiscal health of the SRFs. Please contact Jon Bernstein at jonathan.bernstein@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3715 with questions.