Utility Saves Big on CSO Project Financing

Akron, Ohio, received ‘exceptional’ honors from the EPA for how it used the State Revolving Fund program to finance a $22 million storage basin project
Utility Saves Big on CSO Project Financing
Akron, Ohio, is currently finishing construction on a 2.4-million-gallon concrete storage basin, designed to hold excess flow during high rainfall in a “typical year” event and keep it out of the Little Cuyahoga River.

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Akron, Ohio, has been under a federal consent decree since 2009 to improve management of CSOs. One of its latest projects as part of that effort is a 2.4-million-gallon concrete storage basin, designed to hold excess flow during high rainfall in a “typical year” event and keep it out of the Little Cuyahoga River.

The basin project, which began in the fall of 2016 and is scheduled to finish by the end of the year, is coming in at $17 million less than if the city had financed it at the 3.68 percent market rate. That’s because of a 45-year, $22 million loan package through the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund that carries an interest rate of only 0.93 percent on a portion of the loan. The EPA recently named Akron’s basin project one of five “exceptional” projects making use of the federal low-interest loan program, the State Revolving Fund. A total of 28 different projects were recognized that the EPA deemed innovative in either their design or financing structure.

Akron was able to borrow $13 million of the loan at zero interest, with the remaining portion at 0.93 percent. The basin project is also serving as a sponsor for three projects — a land purchase, wetland restoration, and dam removal — through the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program, which allows borrowers to divert a portion of their loan’s estimated interest payment toward projects that help counter the loss of ecological function and biological diversity in waterways. That factored into the overall discount on the loan package that Akron received.

According to the EPA, the project is the first one in the State Revolving Fund program to receive 45-year financing.

“We are committed to meeting our environmental obligations and improving water quality, but we must continue to find ways to reduce the cost of our sewer projects for Akron ratepayers,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a statement.

MSWmag.com will be continuing to take a closer look at some of the innovative State Revolving Fund projects recently recognized by the EPA in the coming weeks.



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