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EPA Advances President Trump’s Infrastructure Agenda in the Pacific Southwest Through Accelerated Investments in Water Infrastructure

02/07/2019
Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)
213-244-1815

LOS ANGELES—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.

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by working to get the financing tools and resources EPA’s state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure, while improving local water quality and creating jobs and better protecting public health throughout the Pacific Southwest.

“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.”

“Clean water is critical to our economy, environment and quality of life,” said Mike Stoker, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Region. “EPA continues to invest in local projects to renew drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, and thereby safeguard our Region’s vital water resources.”

Together, with support of the agency’s state, local, tribal and other partners, EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region achieved the following major water infrastructure accomplishments in 2018:

WIFIA

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.  

In EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, the following projects were selected to receive WIFIA funding:

San Diego Pure Water Project:  In 2018, EPA issued a $614 million WIFIA loan to the City of San Diego, Calif. to help finance its Pure Water project. With this loan, the city will construct a new advanced facility to produce 30 million gallons per day of high-quality drinking water. This additional drinking water supply will save the city money through reduced imported water costs, will benefit the environment through reduced discharges into the ocean, and will provide a reliable, sustainable, water supply for future generations. Project construction and operations are expected to create 480 jobs, with construction beginning in 2019 and targeted for completion in 2023.

In 2019, Orange County and the cities of Morro Bay and San Francisco will receive a combined $916 million to construct groundwater replenishment, reclamation, and biosolids digester facilities, respectively. 

Thirteen projects in California and Arizona were invited to apply for WIFIA loans totaling up to $1.6 billion to help finance water infrastructure investments.

State Revolving Funds

The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) 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 EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and Pacific territories and tribes received $342 million to help finance water infrastructure investments. One example:

Northern Marianas College Tank Replacement Project: EPA provided $4.6 million through the SRF to fund the Northern Marianas College (NMC) 1.0 Million Gallon Water Tank Replacement Project located in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The NMC project, completed in 2018, replaced an old, structurally deteriorated water storage tank with a new one-million-gallon water storage tank with a chlorination facility that will improve water distribution and pressure throughout the system. New water meters will help the facility track flows to the system and upgrades to the Isley Booster Station will provide water for additional communities. The tank was designed to withstand 210-mile-per-hour winds and a category 4 earthquake. 

Mexico Border Funding

EPA’s Border Water Infrastructure Program provides funding for the planning, design and construction of critical water infrastructure projects for communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2018, EPA allocated $10 million to fund projects along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, including:

Tijuana Wastewater Collector Pipe Replacement: EPA recently provided more than $4 million in funding towards $11 million worth of water infrastructure improvements in Tijuana. This work will increase access to basic wastewater services and prevent collapses of aging infrastructure that would result in untreated wastewater being discharged into the Tijuana River, which crosses into San Diego County and empties in the Pacific Ocean. The first phase of this project, which was completed in 2018, includes the replacement of 6 miles of pipeline and 468 new residential connections. This project will help prevent collapses that could result in over 7 million gallons per day of untreated sewage entering the Tijuana River. The second phase, which will be completed in spring 2019, will replace 2.5 miles of pipeline and help prevent collapses that could result in 4 million gallons per day of discharges into the river.

In addition to funding large-scale infrastructure projects, 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