(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Officials say a core mission of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) is to maintain good water quality in lakes and rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of the community.
“We are announcing a partnership with the Ohio Water Development Authority to invest $5 million to improve community wastewater treatment in the MWCD region,” said Craig Butler, MWCD Executive Director. “This new program builds on the current commitments to invest in the vitality of our parks, marinas, and communities. Having excellent water quality is imperative when attracting millions of visitors to our parks, lakes, and marinas annually.”
The latest estimates (2012) from USEPA indicate that over $271 billion are needed to fully fund necessary community wastewater improvement needs nationally. Ohio’s needs are staggering at over $14 billion, with small communities reporting needs of over $1.5 billion. This is despite having programs that have already invested billions of dollars to build, enhance, and replace critical infrastructure.
The MWCD Board of Directors recently approved a partnership with the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) to invest $5 million in the existing Freshwater Loan Program to assist communities within our jurisdictional boundary to build and improve wastewater treatment systems. For qualifying communities, MWCD will “buy” or subsidize the interest from any OWDA Freshwater Loans to defray or lessen overall project costs. “We feel strongly about investing in our communities and protecting the waters within the conservancy district. This is a way for us to do both and we are proud to be a partner with OWDA in this important program,” says Butler. The OWDA program is one funding source communities use to finance expensive wastewater/ stormwater upgrades, often required by Ohio/ USEPA because of poor performance and negative impacts to water quality.
“On behalf of the Tuscarawas County Commissioners, we are very pleased to hear the announcement by MWCD that they are partnering with the Ohio Water Development Authority,” said Al Landis, Tuscarawas County Commissioner. “$5 million is a significant and great investment for our area. Improving overall water quality has a positive impact not only for our residents, but also the thousands of visitors who come to our area for recreation. We appreciate MWCD investing in our futures.”
“Water is the most basic necessity of life. In our area, lack of good infrastructure is unfortunately a major problem,” said State Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport). “I’m very excited about and appreciative of MWCD’s and OWDA’s partnership to help support these vital local projects and their continued investment in our communities.”
Eligible borrowers include departments, divisions, or other units of state government, watershed districts, soil and water conservation districts, municipal corporations, counties, townships, and other political subdivisions, special water districts, including county and regional sewer and water districts, conservancy districts, sanitary districts, sewer districts, or any other public corporation or agency having the authority to acquire, construct, or operate wastewater or water management facilities.
Interested applicants can submit a loan application through the portal found on OWDA.org. The loan application and supporting documentation is due to the OWDA office by the deadline posted on the OWDA website. Applications are accepted on an open cycle. OWDA will begin to review a project after a complete application has been received. An application will be presented to the OWDA Board for approval after it has been determined that the local government has the ability to repay the loan. MWCD will also complete a review to ensure it meets its eligibility requirements during this time.