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EPA at 50: EPA Celebrates Progress in Protecting America’s Waters

02/03/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (February 3, 2020) — As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 50th anniversary commemoration, the agency is kicking off a month-long look at progress in protecting America’s waters. This month the agency will highlight its efforts related to protecting America’s waters, including clean water infrastructure, safe drinking water, surface water protection, and emerging challenges.

“In honor of EPA’s 50th anniversary, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the progress we have made in protecting our nation’s waters to help support our health, our environment and our economy,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Dave Ross. “This week, we are highlighting the agency’s investment in water infrastructure projects that provide current and future generations with a healthier environment and stronger economy.”

Since EPA was established in 1970, the agency has worked with its state, local, tribal, and water sector partners to make notable investments in the nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. For example, since 1988, EPA has contributed $45 billion to Clean Water State Revolving Funds, which have provided more than $138 billion in financial assistance through 41,000 low-cost loans for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure projects. Similarly, since 1997, EPA has contributed $21 billion to Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, which have provided more than $41 billion in financial assistance to over 15,000 drinking water projects across the country.

Recently, EPA has continued delivering infrastructure investment through new programs, such as its Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program. EPA has issued 14 WIFIA loans since 2017, ranging from $21 million to $699 million. Collectively, these loans total more than $3.5 billion in credit assistance to help finance more than $8 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating more than 15,000 jobs. Because the WIFIA program offers loans with low interest rates, these 14 WIFIA loans are anticipated to save borrowers up to $1.2 billion compared to typical bond financing.

EPA has also supported infrastructure financing to meet specific needs across the country. For example, since 2012, EPA and its federal partners have provided more than 61,000 American Indian and Alaska Native homes with access safe drinking water and almost 48,000 homes to access to basic sanitation.

The agency is committed to continued water infrastructure investment to ensure that our country has the infrastructure needed to support a clean environment, healthy Americans, and a vibrant economy.

Background:

About the State Revolving Funds: Under the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, EPA provides funding to all 50 states and Puerto Rico to capitalize SRF loan programs. The states and Puerto Rico contribute an additional 20 percent to match the federal grants. The 51 SRF programs function like infrastructure banks by providing low-interest loans to eligible recipients for drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects. As the loan principal and interest are repaid over time, it allows the state’s DWSRF or CWSRF to be recycled or “revolve.” As money is returned to the state’s revolving loan fund, the state makes new loans to other eligible recipients. To learn more about the State Revolving Funds, visit https://www.epa.gov/dwsrf and https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf.

About WIFIA: Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, EPA’s WIFIA federal loan and guarantee program accelerates investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide-range of projects, from drinking water treatment and seawater desalination projects, to drought mitigation and water recycling projects. To learn more about WIFIA, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia.

For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the agency is protecting America’s waters, visit: https://www.epa.gov/50 .

Follow EPA’s 50th Anniversary celebration on social media using #EPAat50.

Cumulative EPA Funding for Water Infrastructure Graph