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Release Date: 4/29/1999
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) request to make wastewater treatment loan repayments easier.

Many communities in West Virginia are facing challenges in finding affordable financing for improvements to their wastewater facilities. Rather than raise sewer rates to burdensome levels, some towns have delayed moving ahead with needed projects.

Under the Clean Water Act, states have been limited to making the Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans, which must be repaid in 20 years. In West Virginia, many towns have not been able to afford these 20-year-loans, even when no interest is charged. Now longer repayment plans are available, up to 30 years.

"Wastewater projects are necessary to avoid environmental and public health problems. This will help our communities improve sewage treatment at an affordable cost," said W. Michael McCabe, EPA regional administrator.

West Virginia DEP works closely with communities to review their engineering plans and financing options and manages a loan program for wastewater construction. Most of the money comes from the federal government under the Clean Water State Revolving Funds program. EPA makes grants to DEP which in turn, selects communities to receive the loans. Since 1989, EPA has invested more than $220 million in the West Virginia Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the state has contributed $44 million.

Under the extended repayment period, DEP will now be able to offer more attractive and affordable financing to many towns in West Virginia. As a result, DEP will be able to make more loans through the state revolving fund program.

West Virginia is the second state in the country to take advantage of the new EPA flexibility. Massachusetts was first.

For more information about the program in West Virginia, contact:

Mike Johnson, Assistant Chief
Construction Assistance Branch
Office of Water Resources
WV Division of Environmental Protection
617 Broad Street
Charleston, WV 25301
(304) 558-0641