DeWine announces water infrastructure grants

Staff Report

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced this week 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.

Ohio BUILDS stands for Broadband, Utilities, and Infrastructure for Local Development Success.

According to the governor’s office and the Ohio BUILDS project list, “Gallia County will receive a $595,750 grant to replace the wastewater treatment plant that serves the buildings that house the Gallia-Meigs Community Action Agency and Hopewell Health Centers. Currently there is a very old and very small extended aeration plant with a leach field contained on the county-owned property with no discharge off property. The current system continually is in violation of Ohio EPA permit limits when it is fully occupied. The project will include construction of a new 15,000 gallon per day conventional package plant. The project will benefit 390 people.”

Also according to the Ohio BUILDS project list, in Meigs County, “Syracuse will receive a $474,100 grant to install 4,350 linear feet of PVC pipe, 22 new valves, 800 feet of new service lines with 43 new service connections and a chemical feed upgrade which will replace old piping that has inadequate water pressure for home use and fire protection. Many valves are inoperative and there is a need for many new valves for portions of the system to be isolated if a leak occurs. The chemical feed for water treatment is aging and subject to numerous problems. This project will benefit 100 people.”

According to a press release from Gov. DeWine, “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,” Gov. DeWine said. “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.

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 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.

Staff Report