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May 3, 2019

EPA announces $6B for water infrastructure upgrades

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of funding to provide an estimated $6 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans in 2019.

“Through WIFIA, we are addressing several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: modernizing our nation’s aging infrastructure, improving public health protections and creating jobs,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a news release. “This new round of WIFIA funding provides up to $6 billion in credit assistance which, combined with other sources, could support $12 billion in water infrastructure projects and create more than 180,000 jobs. For this round, we are prioritizing construction-ready projects in three areas: water reuse and recycling, reducing exposure to lead and addressing emerging contaminants, and updating aging infrastructure.”

EPA says the WIFIA program plays an important role in President Donald Trump’s efforts to rebuild America’s aging water infrastructure while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health.

WIFIA loans are available to public and private borrowers for a wide range of drinking water, wastewater, drought mitigation and alternative water supply projects.

The WIFIA program received $68 million in funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which was signed into law by Trump on Feb. 15. This is a $5 million increase in the program’s funding from 2018.

EPA will accept letters of interest (LOI) from prospective borrowers for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

To date, EPA says it has issued eight loans totaling over $2 billion in WIFIA credit assistance to help finance over $4 billion for water infrastructure projects and create over 6,000 jobs. EPA has invited stakeholders involved with an additional 42 projects in 17 states and Washington, D.C., to apply for a WIFIA loan. These 38 borrowers may receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5.5 billion to help finance nearly $11 billion in water infrastructure investments and create 172,000 jobs.

WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including:

  • drinking water treatment and distribution projects;
  • wastewater conveyance and treatment projects;
  • enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities;
  • desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply and water recycling projects; and
  • drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects.