Department of Ecology News Release - February 25, 2014

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$202 million queued up for projects that protect Washington waters

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology proposes to spend $202 million in dedicated grants and loans to help pay for 70 local projects across the state to protect the health of Washington waters.

State financial managers calculate that 11 jobs in Washington are created for every $1 million spent for construction and design funding. That would make this proposed round of funding support more than 2,200 jobs. Over half of these are likely to be local construction jobs.

The funding will be directed to water protection on agricultural lands; upgrades and expansions of sewer plants and collection systems; septic system improvements; water protection and cleanup projects; efforts to manage stormwater; streamside restoration projects; and more.

Here are highlights of the proposed funding:

Port Angeles, Spokane, and King County are proposed to receive $62 million in Revolving Fund loans to correct combined sewer overflows (CSOs). CSOs are discharges of untreated sewage that overflow directly to nearby streams, lakes, and harbors when wastewater collection systems are overloaded by large stormwater flows.

Ecology proposes $1.1 million in grants for projects on both sides of the Cascades to protect clean water on agricultural lands. Of this funding:

In addition, $190 million is proposed to boost 39 wastewater treatment facility projects. Eight of these are proposed for communities that qualify for financial hardship status. They will receive grants, forgivable principal loans (loans that do not need to be paid back), and loans with interest rates as low as zero percent. The communities are:

Project descriptions and proposed funding amounts can be found online.  

Ecology invites comments about this proposed funding. Email comments to Daniel Thompson at daniel.thompson@ecy.wa.gov or mail them to Department of Ecology, Water Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, Attn: Daniel Thompson. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. March 24, 2014.

Ecology will hold a public meeting to discuss the proposed list at 1 p.m., Friday, March 7, at the Pierce County Library, PAC - Processing and Administrative Center, 3005 112th Street in Tacoma.

The funding is contingent on a final state supplemental budget and final federal appropriations. It becomes available at the start of the state’s next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.

Funding for Ecology’s integrated loan and grant program comes from a combination of dedicated state and federal monies.

Of the $202 million total, $180 million comes from the Washington State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund. Another $20.3 million comes from the state Centennial Clean Water Program. And $1.6 million comes from the Clean Water Section 319 Nonpoint Source Fund. Read more about these funds and where the money comes from online.  

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Media Contact:

Sandy Howard, 360-407-6408 (desk); 360-791-3177 (cell); sandy.howard@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Water Quality Grants & Loans (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/funding.html)

Ecology's social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/socialmedia.html)