With cuts being made to the budget of the federal EPA, individual states are having to step up and take matters of protecting drinking and source water into their own hands. Last year, none were more forceful with this change than Ohio.
“The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency set a record in 2017 for loans issued to improve the quality of Ohio’s rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, with Northeast Ohio receiving the largest share,” Cleveland.com reported. “Ohio EPA awarded more than $936.5 million in low-interest and interest-free loans through three state loan programs, according to a 2017 report released … by the agency. That’s 24 percent more than in 2016.”
About $861 million in loans went toward wastewater infrastructure work and $10 million to restoring wetlands, per the report. The agency estimated that, due to the nature of the below-market or zero interest rate loans it can provide, Ohio’s taxpayers saved $150 million in interest payments. The state’s public water systems received $65 million and $13 million was distributed for home sewage treatment system replacement and upgrades, according to The News-Messenger. A summary of the specific projects that these loans went toward funding can be found on Ohio EPA’s website.
“It’s important for Ohioans to know that Ohio EPA is helping communities and business with compliance, technical and financial assistance,” Craig W. Butler, the Ohio EPA director said, per The News-Messenger. “We were able to make this nearly billion dollar investment in water quality improvements because these funds are carefully managed, and we are meeting frequently with county commissioners and mayors to understand their community needs and build positive working relationships between state and local governments.”
The Ohio EPA has already approved a plan to finance more than $1.7 billion in state surface water quality projects in 2018, per The News-Messenger.
For similar story visit Water Online’s Funding Solutions Center.
Image credit: “Lake Erie HABs Sept 2017,” NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 2017, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/