We're proposing to award $365 million in grants and loans for 117 high-priority clean water projects across the state. Our 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, 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 we 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 $1 million spent on building clean water infrastructure. That means this round of grants and loans could result in over 4,000 jobs.
Potential clean water project highlights
Twenty-six wastewater projects are proposed to receive approximately $319 million in grants, low interest loans, and forgivable loans. Five of the projects qualify for special hardship assistance in order to ensure they will not overly increase the sewer bills for residents in these small, financially-challenged communities. 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. Funding for small, financially-challenged communities is a top priority of the new federal funding. The two highest ranked wastewater projects are:
- College Place in Walla Walla County is on the list to receive a $5 million grant and a $21 million low interest loan to construct upgrades and expansion of its wastewater treatment facility. The project will result in improvements to water quality in Garrison Creek and the Walla Walla River. It is needed in part to meet requirements in the 2008 Walla Walla Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load Plan.
- Eastsound Sewer and Water District in San Juan County is set to receive a $1.77 million grant, a $3.47 million low interest rate loan, and a $200,000 forgivable loan to upgrade its existing wastewater treatment plant to address aging equipment, future flows and loading capacity, and discharge permit requirements. The funding is for Phase 2 of the project. Ecology provided funding for Phase 1.
Forty-three projects are set to receive a total of $11.7 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. The two highest ranked nonpoint projects are:
- The Spokane Tribe of Indians is set to receive a $193,401 grant to implement maintenance, riparian restoration, and livestock best management practices to address high priority water quality issues at sites in the Colville, Little Spokane, and Hangman watersheds. These projects will help implement the 2018 Settlement Agreement between Ecology and the Spokane Riverkeeper.
- King County is proposed to receive a $135,300 grant to revegetate 8.5 acres of riparian shoreline along the Green/Duwamish River at Horsehead Bend Natural Area to address high summer water temperatures and to improve fish and wildlife habitat. This project site was identified as having a critical need for tree shade in the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s riparian sun/shade maps. Planting this site will help implement recommendations from Ecology’s 2011 Green River Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load Report.
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. The two highest ranked stormwater projects are:
- Tukwila in King County is slated to receive a $1.18 million grant to improve water quality in the Green-Duwamish River through the installation of conveyance and stormwater treatment facilities for two outfalls along Interurban Avenue South and Tukwila International Boulevard at Riverton Creek. The project will provide enhanced water quality treatment for total suspended solids and metal pollutants for approximately 3.1 acres of roadway runoff from two arterial roadways. The project is included in the city’s 2013 Surface Water Comprehensive Plan.
- Asotin County is tagged to receive a $824,500 grant to improve water quality in the Snake River through the construction of water quality facilities at the Ridges subdivision in the urbanized area of Asotin County. The project will provide treatment for total suspended solids (TSS), oil (total petroleum hydrocarbons), dissolved copper, and dissolved zinc in addition to reducing flows to Snake River by increasing stormwater infiltration.
Let us know what you think
We're holding a public comment period on the Draft Funding List until February 21. Please submit comments via our online comment form (eComments). 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.
If you have questions, please contact Daniel Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-407-6510 or attend the public meeting we are holding at 1 p.m. on February 3 via Zoom.
We will respond to all comments received during the comment period and notify all commenters when we publish our Final Funding List. The Final Funding List is expected to be published in May.
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.