More than 100 projects would help improve infrastructure and protect the environment.
Ecology is proposing to award more than $183 million in financial assistance for 107 high-priority clean water projects across the state. Our Water Quality Combined Funding Program supports local communities, helping them upgrade sewage treatment systems, manage polluted stormwater runoff, and complete a variety of other projects to prevent and cleanup pollution. The entire draft funding list is available online.
This year, more than $114 million of our combined funding is for projects that will help support Puget Sound recovery. These projects are a high priority, as they help improve water quality and create a healthy habitat for the endangered Southern Resident Orca, salmon, and the food web they rely on.
Nearly 70 percent of the funding we manage goes to local communities for environmental 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 $1 million spent on building clean water infrastructure.
The funding is contingent on passage of state and federal budgets appropriating funding for the projects. We will announce the final project list this summer, as soon as funding is secured.
Here are a few project highlights
As proposed, 38 communities across the state will split $33 million in grants to implement projects to treat and reduce stormwater pollution. More than $20.5 million of the stormwater grants funding is for Puget Sound recovery projects. The highest-priority stormwater projects include:
- The City of Bremerton in Kitsap County may receive a grant of more than $800 thousand to construct a system to treat runoff from 6.31 acres of urban roads and parking lots and 8.32 acres of other surfaces to improve water quality in Ostrich Creek. The creek is considered the most polluted stream in Kitsap County, with restrictions on contact due to pollution. The project was the highest rated stormwater project among this year’s applications, and is a high priority in the Puget Sound Action Agenda.
- The City of Tacoma in Pierce County is slated for a $5 million grant and more than $2.7 million in loan to replace nearly 27 blocks of failed residential roadway in the Larchmont Neighborhood. The project will treat stormwater and reduce stormwater flows from 43 developed acres through infiltration using permeable pavement and sidewalks. The project will help restore more natural hydrologic conditions to Flett and Chambers creeks.
Thirty-three projects are tagged to receive about $21.4 million in grants, forgivable loans that do not have to be repaid, and low interest rate loans to address nonpoint pollution. Nonpoint pollution has a significant impact on water quality; it comes from activities that are widespread usually across an area instead of a single identifiable source of pollution. The projects proposed for funding include an expansion of the highly successful Regional Loan Program for repairing and replacing failing on-site sewage systems at homes and small businesses. Examples of other nonpoint projects that may be funded include:
- The Underwood Conservation District in Klickitat County is in line to receive a $250 thousand grant to conduct riparian planting, install cattle exclusion fencing, implement livestock best management practices, monitor water quality, and provide education and technical assistance in the White Salmon River Watershed. The primary areas of focus for the project are streamside agricultural areas in the Trout Lake Valley.
- The Cascadia Conservation District in Chelan County is on track to receive a grant of about $245 thousand to implement a large-scale riparian restoration plan through a community-wide clean water outreach and education campaign and by providing technical assistance to landowners to take steps to reduce nonpoint source pollution and practice good stewardship. The project is consistent with actions recommended in locally developed water quality improvement reports and management plans.
There are 36 wastewater treatment projects marked to receive approximately $125 million. Nine of the projects qualify for hardship financial assistance due to their potential impact on residential sewer bills. These hardship projects may receive a combination of grants, forgivable loans that do not have to be repaid, and low interest rate loans. High priority wastewater hardship projects include:
- Yakima County is proposed to receive nearly $1.5 million in grant and $700 thousand in loan to design and construct critical repairs and improvements at the wastewater treatment facility in the community of Buena. The repairs and improvements are necessary to ensure proper treatment of the wastewater discharged from the facility. The project was the highest rated of all projects submitted for funding this year.
- The City of Vader in Lewis County may receive about $4.8 million in grant and loan to protect Olequa Creek by constructing significant improvements to its wastewater treatment facility. If adequate funding is included in the state budget, the funding for the project will be approximately half grant and half loan.
Let us know what you think
We invite comments on our draft funding list. Send comments to Daniel Thompson at email@example.com by 5:00pm on February 18.
You can also join us for a meeting to discuss the draft funding list:
Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 1:00pm
Pierce County Library
Processing and Administrative Center
3005 112th Street E
Tacoma, WA, 98446
Learn more about clean water grants and loans on our website.