Washington State awards $82 million for clean water projects & jobs

15 July 2012

A recent press release (see text below) from Washington State (WS) USA has announced the availability of, in South African Rands (ZAR) terms, R680 million worth of funding for water resource protection projects, i.e. rectifying problems and fixing stuff.

This is an sound example of breaking out of the inertia of “studying the problem” and getting on with the business of applied science = problem solving.  In all too many cases too much effort is applied to formulating rules and regulations, and then again and again reviewing and re-hashing these, rather than addressing the already well-defined and understood problems head-on.  So, there is a tendency to remain knee-deep in paperwork and procedures, rather than finding out which applied solutions work best.

One of the biggest benefits of the WS Department of Ecology programme is that it integrates very closely with Joe Public, creating awareness and building skills, jobs and knowledge over a wide societal base.

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has finalized funding offers for 57 clean water projects worth $82 million in loans and grants, from funds approved in the 2012 state budget.

      The funding not only helps protect an irreplaceable asset – our clean water – but it also provides jobs. State financial managers calculate that 11 jobs in Washington are created for every million dollars spent in construction and design funding, supporting 902 jobs statewide for this round of projects. Over half of these are likely to be local construction jobs.

      “We make it a priority to provide technical assistance and outreach to communities throughout the state so they can tap in to our annual funding program for low-interest loans and grants to protect clean water,” said Kelly Susewind, who manages Ecology’s Water Quality Program.

      Projects qualifying for Ecology’s clean water funding include upgrades and expansion of sewer plants and collection systems; sewage system improvements; water re-use facilities; water cleanup projects; stormwater and groundwater projects; stream-side protection and restoration projects; public clean water education projects, and more.

      The next application cycle for Ecology’s water quality grants and loans begins Sept. 1 and ends Nov. 2.  Ecology will hold funding application workshops around the state in mid-September. Visit Ecology’s web for details. (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/funding.html)

      Funding for Ecology’s integrated loan and grant program comes from a combination of dedicated state and federal monies. Of the current $82 million shared, $13.5 million comes from the Centennial Clean Water Program, which is funded through state bonds.  The federally funded Clean Water Section 319 Nonpoint Source Fund provides $1.6 million. The Washington State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, a combination federal grant, state match and interest and loan repayments, provides $67 million.

      The state’s nationally recognized integrated funding process combines multiple funding programs into one-stop shopping for communities that need financial assistance to pay for clean water projects.

      The cities of Granger, Mabton and Snohomish were top picks to receive loans and grants for wastewater treatment plant projects. 

      Granger and Mabton were among five wastewater treatment projects that qualified for hardship status. They will receive grants, forgivable principal loans that do not have to be paid back, and low interest loans. The other three recipients for the hardship funds were Rock Island in Douglas County; the Skokomish Indian Tribe for work at Potlatch in Mason County; and Mason County for work in Belfai      

      Project descriptions and funding amounts can be found in a document titled the State Fiscal Year 2013 Final Offer List and Intended Use Plan (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/summarypages/1210024.html)       

      Appendix 1 shows the list of projects and amounts proposed for funding. Appendix 2 shows maps of Western and Eastern Washington pinpointing projects proposed for funding.  

      Washington’s previous state budget provided up to $111 million in clean water loans and grants for fiscal year 2012.      

      This latest round of funding became available July 1.

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