Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

08/07/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/07/2020 09:04

Central Ohio Communities Receive $144 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA to Improve Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure

8/7/20
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Chenault
CITIZEN CONTACT: Kristopher Weiss

Communities in Central Ohio are receiving $144 million in low-interest funding from Ohio EPA to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and make other water quality improvements. The loans were approved between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2020.

The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $21.6 million. Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded approximately $466.5 million in loans during the first half of the year, including $25.5 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $90.9 million 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 six counties to help low-income property owners repair or replace failing home septic systems; these loans do not have to be repaid.

For the first half of 2020, the following Central Ohio projects are receiving funding:

  • Columbus is receiving $109.7 million in loans to improve water main lines, replace culverts, rehabilitate sewer laterals and sewer mains, install new metering equipment, and install biofilters to reduce odor releases and corrosion. Several of these projects are part of the Blueprint Columbus project.
  • Franklin County is receiving $1.3 million to construct sanitary sewer laterals to replace failing household sewage treatment systems.
  • Newark is receiving $25.7 million to install nearly one mile of new sanitary and sewer lines in the areas of Granville Street, 4th Street, and National Drive.
  • Lancaster is receiving $4.2 million to construct more than 5,000 linear feet of gravity storm sewer to separate combined sewer overflows.
  • Pataskala is receiving $1.5 million to make improvements to an oxidation ditch, pump stations, clarifier splitter box, and site piping.
  • Granville is receiving $220,000 to plan and design a new lift station, holding tank, loading infrastructure, and a new water storage tank.
  • Walnut Creek Sewer District is receiving $131,000 for the design of a plant expansion, new sewer, and pump station along State Route 37.
  • Health Departments and Districts in the following counties are each receiving $150,000 in principal forgiveness loans for the repair and replacement of household sewage treatment systems: Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison County/London City, and Pickaway, as well as city of Columbus and the Fayette Soil and Water Conservation District.

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, noncommunity 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 (SRF) 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. WPCLF loans also make possible the restoration and protection of some of Ohio's highest quality water bodies through the fund's Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program.

Ohio's SRF loan programs are partially supported by annual federal capitalization grants and have grown substantially over time because of the revolving nature of the loan issuance and payments back into the fund. The SRF programs are managed by Ohio EPA's Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, with assistance from the Ohio Water Development Authority. Ohio EPA is responsible for program development and implementation, individual project coordination, and environmental and other technical reviews/approvals of projects seeking funds. The Ohio Water Development Authority provides financial management of the SRF funds.

More information about the SRF loan program is available at: epa.ohio.gov/defa/EnvironmentalandFinancialAssistance.aspx.

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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.