PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Fee Oros
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mike Settles
Ashtabula to Improve Wastewater Treatment, Reduce Nutrients with Ohio EPA Funds
Ashtabula is making significant progress toward upgrading its wastewater treatment plant to reduce phosphorus and nutrient discharges, thanks to a low-interest loan from Ohio EPA.
Ashtabula will design major upgrades to ultra-violet light disinfection equipment, a final settling tank and digester. The equipment will be able to reduce nutrients coming into the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Nutrient discharges are a primary cause of impairment leading to harmful algal blooms (HABs). Upgrading the plant will address this problem and improve Lake Erie water quality. Because of the nature of the improvements, the city qualifies for a nutrient reduction interest rate of zero percent.
Ohio EPA is offering more than $100 million in zero-interest loans this year to help wastewater systems reduce the levels of phosphorus and other pollutants they discharge that can contribute to HABs. Preference is given to public wastewater treatment plants in the Lake Erie watershed or a watershed where Ohio EPA has identified that phosphorus is excessive.
Created in 1989, the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) provides below-market interest rate loans for communities to improve their wastewater treatment systems. The reduced interest rate on the $590,550 loan will save Ashtabula an estimated $52,180 compared to a conventional, market-rate loan.
Besides improvements to publicly owned treatment works, WPCLF loans have been provided for agricultural best management practices, home sewage system improvements, landfill closures and water quality-based storm water projects. The WPCLF provides technical assistance to public wastewater systems in a variety of areas from the planning, design and construction of improvements to enhancing 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 EPA’s revolving loan funds are partially supported by federal grants and designed to last indefinitely through repayment of loans and investments in bonds. The loan program is 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 fund.
More information about the WPCLF is available at: epa.ohio.gov/defa/EnvironmentalandFinancialAssistance.aspx.
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.