4/29/21
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Chenault
CITIZEN CONTACT: Jessica Langdon

Southeast Ohio Communities Receive $9 Million in Financing from Ohio EPA for Wastewater, Drinking Water Infrastructure Improvements

$370 Million in Low-Interest Loans Awarded in the First Quarter of 2021

Communities in Southeast Ohio are receiving more than $9 million in low-interest rate and principal forgiveness funding from Ohio EPA to improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure and make other water quality improvements. The loans were approved between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2021. The lower interest rates and principal forgiveness will save these communities more than $2.9 million. 

Statewide, Ohio EPA awarded more than $370 million in loans during the first quarter of 2021, including $6.75 million in principal forgiveness. Combined, Ohio communities will save more than $57 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 first quarter of 2021, the following Southeast Ohio projects are receiving funding:

  • Steubenville is receiving $4.1 million to design and construct new diffusers, air delivery piping, tank repair, and controls for the Steubenville wastewater treatment plant’s activated sludge aeration system.
  • Jefferson County is receiving $1.6 million to replace four pumps and motors, electrical controls, and install a backup power generator at the Reeds Mill pump station. The loan includes $50,000 in principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.
  • Wintersville is receiving $88,000 to repair and reline the sanitary sewer, remove stormwater connections, repair breakages, and rehabilitate and seal manholes to reduce the amount of infiltration and inflow that enters the collection system.
  • Hamden is receiving $102,300 to improve its water storage and distribution system to facilitate the village receiving water from the Jackson County Water Company.
  • Nelsonville is receiving $615,648 to install gravity sewers in the Imperial, Doanville, and Railroad Street areas.
  • Roseville is receiving $719,266 to replace old water meters with new radio-read meters. 
  • Martins Ferry is receiving $229,342 to replace approximately 700 linear feet of waterline along Zane Highway that will be able to withstand increased pressure required for Bridgeport’s permanent connection to Martins Ferry’s drinking water supply. (100 percent of the loan is principal forgiveness, meaning this amount does not have to be repaid.)
  • Health Departments, Districts, and County Commissions in the following counties are receiving $150,000 in principal forgiveness loans for the repair and replacement of household sewage treatment systems: Belmont, Gallia, Harrison, Jackson, Meigs, Muskingum, Ross, Scioto, and Washington counties. Vinton County is receiving $75,000 in principal forgiveness loans.

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 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’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, and 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.

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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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