More than 125 clean water projects across Washington are on the list to receive $314 million in grants and loans from the Department of Ecology.
Ecology’s Water Quality Combined Funding program supports communities by helping them upgrade wastewater treatment and sewer systems, manage polluted stormwater, and complete other projects to prevent and clean up diffuse sources of pollution, also known as nonpoint pollution.
Nearly 90% of the funding Ecology’s water quality program receives is passed through to local communities to support environmental and infrastructure projects. Washington’s clean-water funding is a mix of state and federal funds dedicated toward improving and protecting water quality.
In 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and reauthorized the Capitalization Grant, which contributes funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. In Washington state, this funding included $36 million focused on assisting small, financially disadvantaged communities, and $3 million in forgivable loans to address emerging contaminants such as 6PPD – a chemical used in vehicle tires that has been linked to salmon mortality.
Clean water projects by category
Forty-one wastewater projects will receive approximately $212 million in grants, low-interest loans, and forgivable loans. Twenty-two of the projects qualify for special hardship assistance to ensure they will not overly increase the sewer bills for residents in these small, financially challenged communities. In addition, one project will refinance a high-interest loan for a small, lower-income community. Refinancing existing sewer debt has helped substantially improve the financial condition of wastewater utilities in these communities.
Nonpoint and onsite sewage systems
Thirty-seven projects are receiving a total of $43.9 million in grants and low-interest loans and forgivable loans to address diffuse sources of pollution, including that from onsite sewage systems. Projects range from streambank stabilization work within Spokane’s Hangman Creek watershed to establishing a watershed conservation fund in Jefferson County to provide scalable loans for land acquisitions critical to improving water quality.
The Regional Onsite Sewage System Loan Program is receiving more than $15 million in funding to support financial assistance for homeowners to repair or replace failing septic systems. This is an ongoing joint project between Ecology, the Washington State Department of Health, and the nonprofit third-party lender Craft3.
Forty-eight communities and port districts will split $56.9 million in grants, low-interest loans, and forgivable loans to implement projects to manage and reduce stormwater pollution. Many of this year’s projects will directly help reduce the amount of 6PPD, PCBs, and other pollutants found in stormwater by funding the installation of stormwater treatment facilities. Ecology’s funding also supports retrofits in developed areas that need stormwater treatment and enhanced maintenance planning.
For more information, including access to an interactive map of funded projects and the final offer list [link], please visit the Water Quality Combined Funding program funding cycles webpage.
Read our January blog post when we announced our draft funding list for more clean water project highlights.