Clean water funding continues to support local communities

Exposed septic system near home, two large tanks sitting in a small dirt pit near a house.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department may get state funding to expand the Regional Septic Program that provides low-cost septic replacements.

This year, we’re proposing $188 million in financial assistance for 165 high-priority clean-water projects.

Our funding supports local communities, helping them upgrade sewage treatment systems, manage polluted stormwater runoff, and take on a variety of projects to prevent pollution.

Nearly 70 percent of the funding Ecology manages is passed through to local communities to be used on environmental projects. Our clean water funding comes from a mix of state and federal funds dedicated for water quality improvement and protection.

Map of Washington state, with various diamonds throughout the map signifying proposed project locations.

Yellow diamonds mark the proposed project locations

Morton may receive a $5 million grant and $3-plus million loan to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility to address permit violations, improve solids handling, enhance reliability, and provide sufficient treatment capacity.These proposed projects are contingent on the next finalized state and federal budgets. Projects that make the final cut could begin as soon as July 1, 2017.

Here are a few highlights:

Thirty-one wastewater treatment projects could receive funding for a total budget of approximately $116 million. Fourteen communities qualify for financial assistance due to hardship on residents. These hardship communities could receive a combination of grants, forgivable principal loans (loans that do not need to be paid back), and loans with interest rates as low as one-half percent. High priority wastewater hardship projects include:

  • Carbonado would receive a $5 million grant and a near $7 million loan to replace its old, failing sewer system that was installed in the early 1900s. 

Sixty-two communities across the state would split $42 million from the Stormwater Financial Assistance Program to implement 96 projects that focus on reducing stormwater pollution. Highest-priority stormwater projects include:

  • Tacoma is in line to get a $5 million grant and a $3.2 million loan to improve water quality in the Flett Creek Watershed by retrofitting 17 blocks of failing residential and arterial roadways in the Tacoma Mall Neighborhood. 
  • Spokane County would receive a $667,325 grant for a low-impact development project in north Spokane. 

Thirty-eight projects would receive about $25 million in grants and loans to address nonpoint pollution that comes from widespread, hard-to-trace activities. Examples of these projects include:

  • Pierce County Conservation District would receive a $247,500 grant to install native streamside vegetation on 45 acres of South Prairie Creek. 
  • Ducks Unlimited is slated for a $132,900 grant for a large-scale wetland and streamside restoration project on 470 acres of a permanent conservation easement property on Chamokane Creek. 
  • The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in association with the nonprofit lender, Craft3, and 15 other counties would receive a $1.5 million grant, a $1.5 million forgivable loan (funding that does not need to be paid back), and a $5 million low-interest-rate loan to expand the Regional Septic Program. The program provides affordable loans to homeowners and small businesses to repair failing onsite septic systems. 

Find out more about clean water financial assistance by visiting our website.

Let us know what you think

We invite your comments on the proposed funding list through 5 p.m., Feb. 20. We will hold a public meeting on the proposed projects at 1 p.m. on Feb. 16 at the Pierce County Library, Processing and Administrative Center, 3005 112th Street East, Tacoma, WA, 98446.

To submit comments, email Daniel Thompson at