COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced on Tuesday, Dec. 7, more than $109 million will be awarded to help fund critical water projects in all of Ohio’s 88 counties as part of the third and final round of grants awarded through the new Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant program.
The $109 million in third-round funding will go toward supporting 101 drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects impacting 106 communities. In total, approximately $250 million in Ohio BUILDS grant funding is going toward 183 critical water infrastructure projects across the state.
As part of this third round of funding, the Village of New Paris will receive a $100,000 grant to cover the planning and engineering design for a project that will reduce inflow and infiltration by identifying sources that are contributing to the severe wet weather overflows. Over the past four years, effluent flows from the treatment plant have been two to three times higher than the design treatment capacity of the treatment plant. This project will benefit 1,479 people, according to the announcement.
In an earlier round of funding, Preble County Commissioners were awarded an $8 million grant to install a new sanitary sewer collection system and wastewater treatment plant for approximately 250 properties with failing and underperforming home sewage treatment systems. This project will improve stream water quality in the Glenwood area and will benefit 775 people, according to officials.
“Clean drinking water is part of the foundation for a good quality of life, yet too many communities in Ohio can’t reliably provide residents with this basic necessity due to crumbling infrastructure has been too expensive to fix,” said Governor DeWine. “My administration is committed to helping our communities address these important water issues, and we look forward to additional conversations with the Ohio General Assembly about the potential of expanding this program with additional funds.”
The Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant program, announced by Governor DeWine in October, was funded by the Ohio General Assembly as part of House Bill 168, sponsored by State Representatives Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta), with funding that was appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
“Governor DeWine and I have made water quality and protecting our natural resources in Ohio a priority, and it is great to see the legislature prioritizing it as well, ” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Water quality isn’t just about protecting our health, it’s also about our quality of life and our economic future.”
Since applications for the program opened in late July, the Ohio Department of Development received more than 1,200 grant applications requesting nearly $1.4 billion in funding.
“As evidenced in the number of applications submitted, the need for these projects is great,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of Development. “We are committed to working with the Ohio legislature to fund additional projects through the program.”
Governor DeWine created the Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant program to reduce or eliminate the local financial burden associated with critical infrastructure needs, such as the construction of new water systems, the replacement of aging water lines, and the installation new water mains. Grants are also funding projects to prevent sewer system backups and replace failing household sewage treatment systems with new sewers.
The Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grants are a continuation of Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, which launched in 2019 to focus on ensuring plentiful, clean, and safe water for communities across the state. H2Ohio focuses on strategies to reduce algal blooms on Lake Erie and other bodies of water but has also awarded $15 million in grants for water infrastructure projects.
“Many Ohio communities need this assistance to help their water and wastewater infrastructure projects move forward,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “The grants announced today will make a difference in our communities and in the lives of Ohioans.”
In addition to water infrastructure, Ohio BUILDS (Broadband, Utilities, and Infrastructure for Local Development Success) also focuses on supporting other targeted solutions that impact quality of life, such as broadband expansion, brownfield redevelopment, the demolition of blighted buildings, and more.