News

Jul. 6, 2015 Washington Department of Ecology --NEWS

$227 million goes to work for Washington waters

OLYMPIA – Grants and loans worth $227 million just turned green, creating jobs and protecting waters across Washington state through 162 newly funded projects.

“This funding represents critical investments of state and federal resources in improving and protecting the quality of our state’s waters while also supporting the health and vitality of communities throughout the state. In many cases these projects would have been unaffordable for local jurisdictions, potentially leaving our waters at risk,” said Heather Bartlett, manager of Ecology’s Water Quality Program.

State financial managers calculate that 11 jobs in Washington are created for every $1 million spent on clean water infrastructure projects. Using this calculation, the funding will support more than 2,300 jobs, with one-third of them as construction jobs.

Highlights

· $145 million for 21 wastewater treatment facility projects, six of which qualify for financial hardship status. The hardship projects were awarded $15 million in Centennial Program grants and Clean Water State Revolving Fund forgivable principal loans (loans that does not have to be repaid) to help reduce impacts on residential rate payers.

· $61 million in Stormwater Financial Assistance Program grants for 108 projects to reduce stormwater pollution from existing development. Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one threat to urban waters in Washington.

· $8 million in Section 319 and Centennial program grants and State Revolving Fund loans for 31projects that will address land-use-caused pollution.

· $9 million in loans and Centennial program grants to help establish a local loan/grant program to repair or replace failing septic systems in 10 counties surrounding Puget Sound.

Top projects

· Hood Canal - The Skokomish Indian Tribe will receive approximately $2 million to build a main sewer line extension that will eliminate older septic systems and allow 64 new sewer connections.

· Mill Creek - Walla Walla will receive a $466,000 stormwater grant to build a stormwater infiltration treatment project.

· French Creek - Snohomish Conservation District will receive $100,000 grant for a stream and wetland restoration project.

· Lake Washington - Seattle Public Utilities gets a $42 million loan to build a large combined sewer overflow correction project.

The full list of project descriptions and funding amounts can be found in Appendix 1 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Final Water Quality Funding Offer List and Intended Use Plan. Ecology’s website provides a map of funded projects and explains where the money comes from.

Next round of funding

Ecology again will accept applications for combined financial assistance for water quality projects beginning August 17 with applications due on October 16. Ecology will hold four regional funding workshops the last two weeks of August.

Jurisdictions eligible to receive funding include local governments, tribes, special purpose districts, conservation districts, and non-profits. This financial assistance comes from a mix of state and federal funds dedicated for water quality improvement and protection.

Visit Ecology’s website to learn more.