Ohio EPA provides loans for water quality improvements

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon, Toledo, and the Northwestern Water & Sewer District are among Northwest Ohio entities to receive $82 million in financing in low interest rate funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and to make other water quality improvements.
        The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save communities more than $14.4 million.
        Oregon is receiving a $867,514 loan to fund the replacement of a waterline on Starr Avenue between Wynn and Stadium roads and to install a waterline on Norden Road from Cedar Point Road to Bayshore Road to create a looped system for a dead end on Bayshore Road.
        Oregon Public Service Director Paul Roman said last week that the loan will cover the entire cost of both projects.
        “The projects are almost completed,” he said. “The total cost of the projects is $896,000.”
        The city replaced the waterline on Starr Avenue between Wynn and Stadium roads with an eight inch waterline, he said.
        The installation of a 12-inch waterline on Norden Road from Cedar Point Road to Bayshore Road will create a looped system for a dead end on Bayshore Road. The looped system will improve water pressure in the area, he said.
         “The existing waterline on Bayshore Road has been at a dead end for a long time,” he said. “When you go around the block with a waterline, you want the pipe to go around the block, you don’t want it to dead end on the road. Right now, the main feed to Bayshore is by way of Stadium and Bayshore roads, west of Stadium. It provides water to that area – South Shore Park. But when it gets down to Bayshore Road, it dead ends. So we are running a waterline through the state park of what was the old Norden Road right-of-way to add more pressure to the entire system. Looping is like putting two hoses together to provide more pressure to an area. So basically, we’re adding more piping, and it adds more water pressure to the whole South Shore Park area.”
        Toledo is receiving a $37.8 million loan to upgrade filters at the Collins Park drinking water treatment plant, installing sand and granular activated carbon media to provide additional treatment for harmful algal bloom contaminants.
        The Northwestern Water & Sewer District is receiving three loans totaling $3.1 million. One loan is to improve the sanitary sewer system in the district’s Area 300 and Area 400 to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows and residential basement flooding. The other two loans will fund waterline replacements in Rossford and Lime City.
        Ottawa and Wood counties are among the health departments, districts, or county commissioners to receive $150,000 in principal forgiveness loans for the repair and replacement of household sewage systems.
        The Metropolitan Park District of the Toledo Area is also receiving a low interest loan from the Ohio EPA. A $2.9 million loan will help acquire and restore a 185-acre golf course that is adjacent to the 610-acre Secor Metropark. The golf course will be restored to native plant communities to re-establish more than 160 acres of high quality wetlands and enhance the natural functions of four acres of existing wetlands and Prairie Ditch. More than 7,000 feet of ditches will be removed to improve hydrology, according to the Ohio EPA.
        Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded more than $466 million in loans during the first half of 2020, including $25.5 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $90.9 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. The loans include funds to 20 communities to help low-income property owners repair or replace failing household sewage treatment systems. These loans do not have to be repaid, according to the Ohio EPA.
        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, non-community public water systems. Both programs offer below-market interest rate loans, which can save communities a substantial amount of money compared to market-rate loans, according to the Ohio EPA.


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