Oak Bluffs has received a $4.3 million grant from the state for its wastewater treatment facility upgrade project, part of a 20-year plan to clean up nitrogen from local watersheds.
The funding is part of the $51 million awarded for 14 municipal water projects in 12 Massachusetts communities, a recent release from the Office of the State Treasurer states. The funding comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.
“These grants will support vital water projects throughout our state,” said State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg in the release. “By utilizing federal funding, we can reduce costs for our local communities and create positive impacts statewide, particularly in communities that need the improvements most.”
Oak Bluffs voters had authorized the borrowing of $26 million for the upgrades during the 2022 annual town meeting. The project aims to improve the town’s wastewater treatment facility in an effort to reduce the amount of nutrients discharged into the Lagoon Pond watershed.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust approved issuing Oak Bluffs a $26 million loan at a 2 percent interest rate in December.
Oak Bluffs wastewater commission chair Gail Barmakian said the town is borrowing through the state revolving fund, a low-interest loan program. She said Oak Bluffs is the first Island town to be entered into the revolving fund for a wastewater treatment facility upgrade project.
Barmakian said getting the funding was a long process. “I’m really proud that our town was able to qualify and succeed in getting this award,” she said. “Everyone’s been working really hard on it.”