Maryland will leverage a new federal grant of $28.8 million with state funds and tax-exempt revenue bonds to finance $43 million of wastewater projects for 17 local governments, according to the state Department of the Environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency late last month awarded the grant for use by the Maryland water-quality revolving loan fund, which makes loans to local governments for water quality projects.

The Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration, which is part of the Department of the Environment, plans to augment the grant with issuance of $30 million of bonds, said Maria Markham Thompson, director of the administration.

The bonds are backed by loan repayments, which also are used by the financing administration to make additional loans to communities.

The EPA grant is the sixth to be awarded to Maryland since September 1989. So far, the state has appropriated about $43.7 million and the financing administration has issued $133 million of revenue bonds to leverage the grants, which now total $218 million.

The financing administration has loaned $204 million for 78 projects since it began making loans in 1990. Projects to clean up the Chesapeake Bay are a major target of the program.

-- Martha M. Canan, Washington

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