11/3/20
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Dina Pierce
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mary McCarron

Ohio EPA Proposes 2021 Water Pollution Control Loan Fund Program Management Plan

Public Hearing set for 3 p.m. Dec. 3, 2020

Ohio EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on Dec. 3, 2020, to discuss the Agency’s draft 2021 Program Management Plan for the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF). The fund provides financial and technical assistance for wastewater infrastructure and restoration projects that improve the quality of Ohio's rivers, streams, lakes, and other water bodies.

The virtual public hearing begins at 3 p.m. during which the public may submit written comments on the record about the draft plan. Citizens who want to participate must register in advance of the meeting. 

Since 2011, Ohio has invested more than $10 billion in WPCLF funding for key infrastructure and restoration projects to improve water quality statewide. For this coming year, Ohio EPA received project nominations that total more than $2.3 billion and will make loan funds available to all applicants that meet program requirements.

Up to $35.7 million will be available in 2021 for principal forgiveness (the portion of a loan that a borrower does not have to repay). Principal forgiveness funding will be directed toward wastewater regionalization projects, home sewage treatment systems, other wastewater-related projects, and back-up power facilities.

Highlights of the proposed program for 2021 include:

  • offering $50 million (interest-free) to promote regional approaches to managing wastewater infrastructure;
  • continuing the effort to manage harmful algal blooms, again offering $50 million (interest-free) for nutrient reduction projects that include equipment and facilities to reduce discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen that contribute to blooms; and
  • allocating up to $15 million to fund projects under the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program in which borrowers divert a portion of a loan’s estimated interest payment toward projects that help counter the loss of ecological function and biological diversity of Ohio’s water resources.

Except for planning, design and nutrient reduction loans, all projects eligible to receive 2021 funding must have been nominated by Aug. 31, 2020. The primary sources of WPCLF assistance are proceeds from bond issues, available loan repayments, and federal capitalization grants. Ohio EPA may issue revenue bonds to help in meeting the coming year’s funding requests.

Copies of the draft 2021 program management plan are available on the web or by contacting defamail@epa.ohio.gov or calling (614) 644-3636. Comments can be emailed to defamail@epa.ohio.gov. All comments must be received by the close of business on Dec. 3.

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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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