Communities get loans from EPA for water quality improvements

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Communities in Northwest Ohio are receiving approximately $107 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.
        Funding infrastructure projects and improving water quality across the state continues to be a priority of Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration, according to Dina Pierce, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA. These loans (financed through the state’s revolving fund) were approved between April 1 and June 30 of this year. The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $18 million.
        “Reliable water infrastructure is critical to the quality of life for Ohio residents and for economic development, which is why my administration has put a great deal of focus on helping communities with their water needs,” said DeWine. “With this support, more communities all over the state will make important system upgrades to ensure that drinking water is clean and that water infrastructure is dependable.”
Save millions
        Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $436.4 million in loans during the second quarter of 2022, including more than $9 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save approximately $71.9 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 to repair or replace failing household sewage treatment systems.
        For the second quarter of 2022, the following Northwest Ohio projects in the local area are receiving funding:
        •The Northwestern Water and Sewer District is receiving a $7.9 million loan to replace the Ford Road pump station and reduce sanitary sewer overflow events within the tributary collection system;
        •The Metropolitan Park District of Toledo is receiving $874,000 for the Crissey Road Wetland Preservation project. The project will protect and restore 30 acres featuring high quality Oak Openings forested wetlands and upland habitat. This project is adjacent to the Secor Metropark expansion project. The funding is from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, which allows communities borrowing from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund to sponsor a preservation or restoration project by redirecting a portion of the interest to be paid on the loan;
        •Put-In-Bay is receiving $505,800 to extend the sanitary sewer force main on Sybil Boulevard;
Health Departments
        Additionally, 16 county governments or local health departments in the region are each receiving $150,000 in principal forgiveness loans to repair or replace household sewage treatment systems, including the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, Ottawa County General Health District, Sandusky County Health Department, and the Erie County Health Department in the local area.
        Created in 1989, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) helps communities improve their wastewater treatment systems. The Water Supply Revolving Loan Account, started in 1998, provides loans for improvements to community drinking water systems and nonprofit, non-community 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 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. The WPCLF loans make restoration and protection possible for some of Ohio’s highest quality water bodies through the fund’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.


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