Ohio EPA issued more than $1 billion in 2017 to finance projects that upgrade drinking water infrastructure and improve the quality of Ohio’s lakes, rivers and streams — more than ever before in the 28-year history of the state’s revolving loan programs. All Ohio EPA loans are provided to communities at below market rates, and this year resulted in a combined savings of more than $150 million for Ohio’s counties, cities and villages.
“It’s important for Ohioans to know that Ohio EPA is helping communities and business with compliance, technical and financial assistance,” Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler said. “We were able to make this nearly billion dollar investment in water quality improvements because these funds are carefully managed, and we are meeting frequently with county commissioners and mayors to understand their community needs and build positive working relationships between state and local governments.”
Notable for 2017
- Improvements to wastewater infrastructure (which affect the health of Ohio’s surface waters flowing into Lake Erie and the Ohio River) received $913 million this year;
- $81 million was directed toward improving Ohio’s public water systems;
- $10 million was issued for projects that restore wetlands and counter the loss of Ohio’s natural water resources;
- $43 million was provided as principal-forgiveness financing (meaning borrowers are not required to repay the loans);
- $13 million was distributed across 51 counties for home sewage treatment system (septic) replacement and upgrades;
- 17 loans were issued for large projects of $10 million or greater including combined sewer overflow projects in Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Franklin, Lorain, Lucas and Summit counties along with large wastewater treatment plant improvements in Miami and Lake counties; and
- $258 million was awarded for projects to separate combined sewer overflows in the Lake Erie watershed.
A summary of the projects may be viewed on Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance web page. For more information, contact Jerry Rouch at Jerome.Rouch@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3660.
Fun Fact – The amount of funds awarded in 2017 is slightly more than the total awarded in the first eight years of the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) - this illustrates the financial growth of the funds over time, the expert management of the funds, and the popularity of the loan programs.