Administrator Regan Announces $97 Million Loan for Improved Water Infrastructure in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky
EPA’s WIFIA loan supports critical updates to benefit the community while saving money and creating jobs
WASHINGTON (April 15, 2021) – Today, at a virtual event with Kentucky’s Secretary of Energy and Environment Rebecca Goodman, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, and other officials, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced a $97 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD). EPA’s WIFIA loan supports upgrades to Kentucky’s largest water quality treatment center that will improve wastewater infrastructure to benefit local communities while saving money.
“EPA is proud to partner with Louisville MSD on projects that will unlock innovative energy production while improving essential services and reducing operating costs,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This WIFIA partnership shows how water infrastructure can help communities build back better under the American Jobs Plan by strengthening public health and environmental protection while creating jobs and supporting water affordability.”
The Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center (WQTC) is Kentucky’s oldest and largest wastewater treatment plant, with an average capacity of 120 million gallons per day. The solids treatment and handling processes at the facility have reached the end of their useful life, necessitating the current landfill of biosolids. EPA’s WIFIA loan supports state-of-the-art improvements for processing solids with the capacity to produce 40,000 dry tons of exceptional quality biosolids per year for beneficial reuse, reducing reliance on landfilling. The improvements significantly increase energy production—bringing the facility closer to energy independence—and improve system operations and reliability while maintaining affordable wastewater services for MSD’s 751,000 customers.
EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of the $197.8 million project costs and will save MSD an estimated $15 million in financing costs. In addition to the low cost, the WIFIA loan provides MSD flexibility in repayment terms as well as construction schedule, ensuring that the funding meets MSD’s needs throughout the life of the project. Project construction and operation are expected to create more than 600 local jobs and spur more than $850,000 in local community investment. Located in the west end community, improvements at the Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center will also improve local environmental conditions, including by reducing odors.
“As the largest plant of its kind in Kentucky, the Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center is a vital piece of our local infrastructure. And beyond addressing deferred maintenance, this project will significantly increase energy production and reuse, bringing it closer to energy independence while improving reliability,”said Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer. “So, our local environment benefits, as do the residents who live nearby. I join our fantastic MSD team, community partners and the EPA leadership in celebrating the EPA’s WIFIA loan to help make much-needed improvements.”
“The WIFIA loan with its extraordinarily low interest rate and long repayment schedule will save MSD ratepayers about $15 million in interest costs,” said Louisville MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott. “We could not get this rate from any other lending institution. The improvements to our solids handling process will result in a win for our customers and the environment for generations to come.”
“The WIFIA loan provides Louisville MSD the opportunity to bring our solids handling process up to 21st-century standards,” said Assistant Director Special WQTC Projects Alex Novak. “The improvements these dollars allow are a big step toward energy independence for Kentucky’s largest wastewater treatment facility—Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center. These improvements would not be possible without this loan.”
Last week, Louisville MSD participated in Administrator Regan’s roundtable with water utilities to discuss water infrastructure and President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. Through WIFIA, EPA is playing a key role in efforts to build back better by improving and upgrading the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in communities across the country. With EPA’s WIFIA loan to Louisville MSD, and two other WIFIA loans announced today, the agency has announced 49 WIFIA loans that are providing over $9.3 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $20 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 49,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $4 billion.
Background on WIFIA
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. WIFIA’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs.
For more information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2020, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-annual-report
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit:https://www.epa.gov/wifia