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Ohio EPA Awards Grant for Summit County Storm Water Demonstration Project


Innovative storm water controls are on the way to New Franklin thanks to a $186,800 grant awarded by Ohio EPA. The grant to the city is one of 12 Ohio EPA issued statewide totaling $2.7 million to help communities restore waterways impaired by nonpoint source pollution. New Franklin will use the money – along with a local match of $50,000 – to implement a storm water demonstration project outside City Hall located at 5611 Manchester Road.

The city plans to develop a “treatment train” to manage storm water runoff from the property. It will entail constructing a 13,000-square-foot pervious asphalt parking lot with an under drain to a 15,000-square-foot grassy bio-swale, followed by a 0.5-acre treatment wetland. The wetland will slow and store storm water and reduce flooding and riparian erosion that impacts the nearby Portage Lakes.

Once operational, the system will reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments discharging into Catalina Ditch, Turkeyfoot Lake and the Upper Tuscarawas River watershed. The city will use the demonstration project to educate area residents and developers on the environmental benefits of green infrastructure.

Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairment in Ohio’s streams and lakes. It is caused by rain or snowmelt moving over and through the ground, picking up natural and human-made pollutants and depositing them in lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waterways. Other forms of nonpoint source pollution include modifications to natural stream flow, habitat alteration and nutrients. Polluted runoff can have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.

In 1987, Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act created a national program to control nonpoint source pollution. Ohio EPA administers the program for U.S. EPA and distributes millions of federal dollars to projects proposed by local governments and community organizations such as watershed groups. To be eligible, grant recipients must contribute at least a 20 percent match consisting of cash or in-kind contributions or services. Grants of up to $350,000 are awarded for three-year periods.

Applications for the next round of grants, which are due on June 1, 2012, are available through Ohio EPA’s district offices or by contacting Russ Gibson at (614) 644-2020 or Martha Spurbeck at (614) 644-2869. More information on the grants, an electronic application and examples of previously successful projects are available online.

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