9/25/15
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Fee Oros
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mike Settles

Lorain County Community to Expand Storage and Treatment to Adjust for HABs with Finances from Ohio EPA

The City of Avon Lake will construct additional storage and interconnection systems to prevent problems in the public drinking water system that can develop when Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are present. The city is receiving a low-interest loan from Ohio EPA.

To better prepare for HAB emergencies, Avon Lake will add two new clear wells with new high service pumps. The city will convert four small clear wells to filter stored backwash water for improved treatment, replace filtering materials, valves and control panels and add a permanent emergency generator for full plant operation during power outages. Construction is expected to be completed in 26 months.

In August 2014, Ohio EPA announced that it would make available $50 million in zero-interest loans through its Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) for drinking water plant upgrades and alternative or back-up water sources to address HABs. Preference is given to water systems in the Lake Erie watershed and those that have experienced an algal bloom or a detection of microcystins. Qualifying projects include components that treat for microcystins, as well as projects that implement avoidance strategies such as interconnections with other water supplies, new elevated storage facilities and installation of alternative sources of water.

The reduced interest rate on the over $25.5 million WSRLA loan will save Avon Lake over $9 million compared to a conventional, market-rate loan.

Projects eligible for WSRLA funding include design and construction loans for new, replaced, rehabilitated, upgraded or expanded water treatment plants and their components. In addition, the WSRLA can provide technical assistance to public drinking water 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.

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 WSRLA is managed jointly by Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance and Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, 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 WSRLA 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.


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