WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today praised the allocation of $279,100,000 in federal funds by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for water projects in 216 Ohio communities. The funds, which were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will assist with 324 drinking water and water pollution projects selected by the Ohio EPA.
“These funds will ensure that more Ohio communities have safe and reliable water infrastructure systems,” said Brown. “For too long, community infrastructure needs have been ignored. These funds will help address our aging water network and create new jobs and economic development.”
The funding will be directed to the Ohio EPA’s Drinking Water Assistance Fund and the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund.
The Drinking Water Assistance Fund uses financial and technical assistance to improve Ohio’s drinking water network. The fund helps ensure public health by assisting public water systems meet and maintain compliance standards set forth in the Safe Water Drinking Act, along with various Ohio statutes and regulations.
The Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund provides low-interest loans for water resource protection and improvement projects. Projects that can benefit from this funding include combined sewer overflow, wastewater treatment plant projects, and septic system repairs.
Brown has been a leading advocate in Congress for increased investments in water infrastructure projects. He successfully fought to include $6 billion for water infrastructure funds in ARRA. Yesterday, Brown and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) announced the Clean Water Affordability Act, which would help 86 Ohio communities make important renovations to outdated sewer systems. The legislation would authorize $1.8 billion in funding over five years to assist with improvements. More information can be found here.
An EPA survey revealed that 86 Ohio communities have serious sewage overflow problems, which amount to a needed investment of $6.3 billion, an increase of more than half since the 2000 survey. The report showed an immediate need of more than $10 billion in Ohio for improvements in publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities.