Local clean water projects get a boost from the other Washington

The Department of Ecology is proposing to award $365 million in grants and loans for 117 high-priority clean water projects across the state. 

This includes projects locally, notably a pump station improvement project for the City of Aberdeen and planning for the City of Montesano.

The Water Quality Combined Funding Program supports local communities by helping them upgrade wastewater treatment and sewer systems, manage polluted stormwater, and complete a variety of other projects to prevent and clean up more diffuse sources of pollution, also known as nonpoint pollution.

In 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reauthorized the Capitalization Grant, which resulted in significant funding increases for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The increased CWSRF funding, particularly from the new law, resulted in very large increases in the amount of forgivable loans that DOE could offer. Forgivable loans do not have to be repaid.

“These additional funds are a direct benefit to Washington’s local communities and organizations,” said Vince McGowan, Ecology’s Water Quality Program Manager. “By investing in infrastructure improvements we are investing in clean water.” 

Nearly 90% of the funding the Water Quality Program receives is passed through to local communities for environmental and infrastructure projects. 

“Our clean water funding comes from a mix of state and federal funds dedicated for water quality improvements and protection. State financial managers calculate that 11 direct and indirect jobs are created in Washington for every $1M spent on building clean water infrastructure. That means this round of grants and loans could result in over 4,000 jobs.”

DOE is holding a public comment period on the Draft Funding List until February 21. 

“In particular, we’re interested in receiving comments on how we’re proposing to use the additional forgivable loans made available through new federal funding for the CWSRF and how we’re proposing to simplify the funding processes.”

Residents can submit comments via the online comment form (eComments).