The Department of Ecology awarded $317 million in grants and loans for 124 high-priority clean water projects across the state.
This includes two funding opportunities for Grays Harbor.
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 diffuse sources of pollution.
The funding is being distributed through wastewater, nonpoint, and stormwater projects.
The City of Aberdeen requested and is eligible for an $8,590,000 loan for their an influent screening project. That project would reduce risks to water quality in the Chehalis River Estuary and Grays Harbor through the construction of wastewater treatment facilities at the 10 MGD Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Aberdeen.
Improvements will be made to the influent pump station, headworks and sampling facilities along with flood proofing and code compliance upgrades at these facilities, along with installation of new perforated plate screens, washer/compactors, and a plant drain pump station.
In Montesano, they are eligible for a $97,500 grant to improve stormwater quality in its receiving waters through a stormwater Enhanced Maintenance Plan (EMP).
The EMP will support the City’s stormwater maintenance program and to be used to support future funding applications. The City is not required to apply for coverage under the NPDES Phase II Permit (Phase II Permit). However, the Phase II Permit will be used as guidance in preparing the EMP.
Thirty-one wastewater projects across the state are awarded approximately $268 million in grants, low interest loans, and forgivable loans. Funding for small, financially-challenged communities were a top priority of the new federal funding. Seven of the projects qualify for special construction hardship assistance to ensure they will not overly increase the sewer bills for residents in small, financially-challenged communities.
Twelve projects are awarded preconstruction hardship funding that includes a combination of loan and forgivable loan to help offset financial impacts of planning and designing sewer projects.
In addition, four of the projects are to refinance high interest rate loans in small, lower-income communities; the refinancing will substantially improve the financial condition of the wastewater funds in these communities.
Forty-six projects will receive a total of $12.2 million in grants to address nonpoint pollution, including that from onsite sewage systems. Nonpoint pollution has a significant impact on water quality; it comes from diffuse sources instead of an identifiable pipe.
Forty-seven communities and port districts will split $34 million in grants, low interest loans, and forgivable loans to implement projects to manage and reduce stormwater 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 funding allowed us to award larger amounts in loans and forgivable loans, especially to support small, financially-challenged community projects. Forgivable loans do not have to be repaid.
“The increased federal and state investments in clean water infrastructure will improve water quality and public health protection for all Washingtonians,” said Jeff Nejedly, Ecology’s Water Quality Financial Assistance Manager. “Focusing funding in small, financially-disadvantaged communities is a priority that supports water quality, equity, and economic vitality.”
The new federal funding has allowed us to streamline the funding process. Projects that have already been evaluated, ranked, and awarded funds for planning and design do not have to re-apply for more funding for the construction phase of the project. We’re funding three additional wastewater projects that met this criteria and are ready to proceed to the next phase.
Nearly 90% of 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 12 direct and indirect jobs are created in Washington for every $1 million spent on building clean water infrastructure. That means this round of grants and loans could result in more than 3,800 jobs.
For more information, including access to an interactive map of funded projects and access to the draft list please visit the Water Quality Combined Funding Program Funding Cycles webpage.