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EPA Advances President Trump’s Infrastructure Agenda in the Mid-Atlantic Through Accelerated Investments in America’s Water Infrastructure

02/07/2019
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PHILADELPHIA (February 7, 2019)—As highlighted in President Trump’s State of the Union address and in support of the President’s Infrastructure Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accelerated investment in the nation’s aging water infrastructure.

“EPA is delivering on President Trump’s promise to jump-start critical infrastructure projects that will not only enhance environmental protections but also grow the economy,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under President Trump, EPA has issued seven WIFIA loans to help finance over $4 billion in water infrastructure projects that will improve water quality and create up to 6,000 jobs. By clearly defining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends, our new proposed Waters of the U.S. definition will provide states and the private sector the regulatory certainty they need to develop and streamline projects that will modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure.”

Over the past year, EPA has moved President Trump’s infrastructure agenda forward by working to get the financing, tools and resources EPA’s state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health.

“All Americans deserve clean and safe water,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “President Trump’s commitment to infrastructure improvements allows EPA to assist a wide variety of communities throughout the mid-Atlantic states, especially small and disadvantaged communities that otherwise might not have the resources to resolve their water issues.”

One major accomplishment of local significance is the use of Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), which play an integral role in EPA’s efforts to help communities replace or upgrade aging or inadequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through low-interest loans. Together, in 2018, the SRFs committed $9.6 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $8.8 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure. This level of funding was facilitated through EPA’s contribution of $2.2 billion to the state revolving funds in 2018.

In the mid-Atlantic Region, EPA’s largest SRF project undertaken to date is a complete upgrade of the sludge handling facility for the City of Reading’s wastewater treatment plant in Reading, Pa.  Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) financed this CWSRF project for $149 million at 1 percent interest for 20 years, which produced a calculated subsidy value of more than $21 million.

Reading’s existing trickling filter plant is being upgraded to an extended aeration activated sludge plant that will use energy efficient variable speed motors and linear Motion Mixers in the digesters that use 70 percent less power than conventional mixers. This project will replace the previously overloaded system and will improve the water quality for the Schuylkill River and the Delaware Estuary, which are both important culturally, economically and recreationally for the distressed area.

Together with the agency’s state, local, tribal and other partners, EPA also achieved success in 2018 with the financing of large-scale water infrastructure projects.

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014, EPA’s WIFIA program is the agency’s newest water financing program which provides long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. In 2018, EPA issued seven WIFIA loans totaling nearly $2 billion to help finance over $4 billion for water infrastructure projects and create up to 6,000 jobs. In November 2018, EPA invited 39 additional projects in 16 states and Washington, D.C. to apply for a WIFIA loan. Together, these selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5 billion to help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.

EPA has also taken a leading role in the administration’s initiative to promote greater efficiencies in the infrastructure permitting process. These actions include working to provide a clear and predictable approach to identifying waters that are subject to federal authority through the Department of the Army’s and EPA’s proposed “Waters of the United States” rulemaking, implementation of the administration’s One Federal Decision initiative and through other improvements to the Clean Water Act permitting process. EPA will take these actions by cooperatively working with its state and tribal co-regulators with a goal of streamlining environmental permitting and increasing investments in critical water and other infrastructure projects.

For more information on the President’s Infrastructure Initiative, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/building-stronger-america-president-donald-j-trumps-american-infrastructure-initiative/.

For more information about EPA’s WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia.

For more information on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, visit https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf.

For more information on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, visit https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf.