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County first to receive zero-interest federal stimulus loan

MEDIA RELEASE

The County of Hawai’i Department of Environmental Management has become the first department in the state of Hawai’i to receive a binding commitment for a zero-interest loan with principal forgiveness for a wastewater project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the federal stimulus bill.

The $1.1 million in stimulus funds will be used to build a sewer collection system to allow the County to retire two large capacity cesspools in Hilo’s Komohana Heights subdivision. Construction on the project began in September, and is scheduled to be completed this month.

The stimulus money is technically a zero-interest “loan” made by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, but funding through that particular fund under the stimulus bill includes provisions for principal forgiveness, meaning the “loan” never needs to be repaid.

“This accomplishment is the result of the hard work and dedication of the Wastewater Division staff, as well as significant contributions from our partners at the state Department of Health,” said Lono Tyson, director of the Department of Environmental Management. “Their combined efforts will result in this County receiving about $7.5 million in federal funds out of a total of $30 million that was awarded to the state of Hawai’i under the stimulus bill.”

The County expects to receive another $5.3 million in stimulus funding through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to retire large-capacity cesspools in Honoka’a, and another $1 million in stimulus funding to close cesspools at the Queen Liliuokalani Village subdivision in Kona.

“All of the Counties are hurrying to meet the complex requirements for ‘shovel-ready’ wastewater projects to be eligible for funding under the stimulus bill. Actions speak louder than words, and when our County becomes the first to complete the process, that speaks volumes about our employees’ expertise and dedication,” Tyson said.

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