Improving Water Quality in Orange County
The Environmental Cleanup Program (Program) helps improve overall water quality in Orange County from transportation-generated pollution. Program funds will be allocated on a countywide competitive basis to assist jurisdictions in meeting the Clean Water Act for controlling transportation-generated pollution. The funds are designed to supplement, not supplant, existing transportation-related water quality programs.
Eligible applicants include Orange County city and county agencies such as planning departments, public works agencies, recreational departments, etc. Third parties, such as water and wastewater public entities, environmental resource organizations, nonprofit 501(c) environmental institutions, and homeowners associations cannot act as the lead agency for a proposed project; however, these agencies can jointly apply with a city and/or the County of Orange. Approximately $57.5 million was made available through the Early Action Plan (EAP) expenditures.
In May 2010, the OCTA Board of Directors approved a two-tier grant funding approach to the program:
The Tier 1 Grant Program is designed to mitigate the more visible forms of pollutants, such as litter and debris that collects on roadways and in storm drains prior to being deposited in waterways and the ocean. Tier 1 consists of funding for equipment purchases and upgrades to existing catch basins and related best management practices (BMPs) such as screens, filters, inserts and other streetscale low-flow diversion projects. A total of up to $19.5 million from the EAP is available for the Tier 1 program over a seven-year window from fiscal year 2011-12 through fiscal year 2017-18. The first Tier 1 call for projects was issued in February 2011. In August 2011, the Board approved the funding of 34 projects to 23 cities and the County of Orange, totaling more than $2.8 million. In August 2012, the Board approved a second round of funding with a total of $2.8 million awarded to 33 projects from 24 cities and the County.
The Tier 2 Grant Program consists of funding regional, potentially multi-jurisdictional, capital-intensive projects. Examples include constructed wetlands, detention/infiltration basins and bioswales, which mitigate pollutants including litter and debris, but also heavy metals, organic chemicals, sediment and nutrients. The Tier 2 program will be funded beginning in fiscal year 2012-13 using bond financing revenues with up to $38 million from the EAP allocated through fiscal year 2015-16. Beyond 2015-16, funding will be based on a pay-as-you-go basis. The first Tier 2 call for projects was issued on June 4, 2012, totaling approximately $13.3 million.