Communities in Southwest Ohio are receiving more than $19 million in low-interest rate funding from Ohio EPA to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and make other water quality improvements.

The loans were approved between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2021. The lower interest rates will save these communities more than $2.6 million.
 
Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded more than $156 million in loans during the third quarter of 2021, including more than $12.6 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save approximately $34 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 repair or replace failing household sewage treatment systems.
 
For the third quarter of 2021, the following Southwest Ohio projects are receiving funding:

• Leesburg is receiving $48,344 for the planning and engineering design for a project to purchase and install new water meters, replace water mains and valves, improve the water treatment plant and conduct system mapping.

• Cincinnati is receiving $9.85 million for four aging, unlined cast iron drinking water main replacement projects. The projects will help reduce unaccounted water loss for the Greater Cincinnati Water Works. Along Congreve Avenue, approximately 10,650 linear feet of water main and about 65 lead service lines will be replaced. On Clarewood Drive, about 9,300 feet of water main and 170 lead service lines will be replaced. On Pleasant Street, about 8,800 feet of water main and 67 lead service lines will be replaced. On Glenway Avenue, about 6,700 feet of water main and 49 lead service lines will be replaced.

• Greene County is receiving $9.18 million for five drinking water infrastructure projects. This includes $8.6 million to design and implement a project to replace more than 17,000 customer water meters and upgrade meter reading technology for better accuracy and improve efficiencies in all aspects of metering and billing. The other four loans are for the planning and engineering design for projects to replace 5,670 feet of water main and replace fire hydrants in the Tara Trail area, install 3,075 feet of water main in the Wagner and Kemp roads areas and implement wellfield improvements.

• South Charleston is receiving $74,386 for the planning and engineering design for a project to repair an undersized water line, conduct water tower inspections and tests and a lead service line survey.

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 stormwater, 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 make restoration and protection possible for Ohio’s highest-quality water bodies through the funds 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, 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.