EPA Announces $18 Million Loan to Support Affordability and Essential Water Infrastructure Upgrades in Wayne County, Michigan
First WIFIA loan in Michigan supports 13 communities in the Detroit metropolitan area
WASHINGTON – Today, at a virtual event with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell and Rashida Tlaib, and local elected and administrative officials, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced an $18 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority in Wayne County, Michigan, to support critical upgrades for the second largest wastewater system in the state. EPA’s WIFIA loan provides timely financing and significant cost-savings to support infrastructure upgrades while helping control costs.
“EPA is working to build back better by investing in water infrastructure to ensure that all people – no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin, or their zip code – have access to clean and safe water,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Our partnership with Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority shows that investment in water infrastructure can protect public health and the environment, create near-term jobs, and support long-term economic development.”
The Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority serves 13 communities in southeastern Michigan—including small, disadvantaged cities like Ecorse and River Rouge. This project and EPA’s WIFIA loan will improve system operations and reliability while helping maintain affordable wastewater services. Along with other critical updates, this project will upgrade the system’s biosolids handling which will reduce system operation costs by approximately $1.8 million annually. The WIFIA loan will save the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority an estimated $5 million. EPA’s WIFIA loan enabled Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority to expedite its project timeline—reducing costs sooner.
“Since my first day in office, I've been committed to fixing our state's crumbling infrastructure while ensuring that every Michigander has access to clean water,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This WIFIA loan is another fantastic example of the benefits that come when we make bold investments in infrastructure. This loan will increase access to clean water and help bolster our economy by creating new jobs. I'm extremely grateful to have the Biden Administration as a true partner when it comes to fixing infrastructure here in Michigan and across our nation.”
“We can no longer take for granted the infrastructure that keeps the water coming out of our faucets clean. This investment is critically important for the health and economic wellbeing of people in our community. This announcement will help the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority make necessary upgrades to operate efficiently and help prevent higher costs for Downriver families. I am grateful to the EPA for their investment and excited to partner with Administrator Regan and Acting Assistant Administrator Fox on more projects in the future,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“This announcement is great news for Downriver communities and Wayne County. Everybody – regardless of who you are or where you live – should have access to clean and safe water and a reliable water infrastructure,” said Senator Gary Peters. “This federal support will not only save taxpayer dollars in the coming years but make key upgrades to one of the largest wastewater systems in Michigan. I’ll continue working with the EPA to ensure our state’s communities have the support needed to protect our waterways and make critical infrastructure improvements.”
“We have been fighting for significant investment in our water infrastructure for the Downrivers. Today is a critical step forward for our local environment,” said U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell. “This loan will support our Downriver communities by reducing the need to dispose of waste and construct landfills while lowering costs and modernizing our wastewater systems.”
“Water is a human right and the actualization of that for residents across Southeast Michigan and the state must include upgrading our critical infrastructure,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “I’m pleased that the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority will be receiving this WIFIA loan to help ensure that our constituents and neighbors have access to clean, safe, and affordable water as well as infrastructure that protects our communities and environment.”
“The WIFIA loan will enable us to rehabilitate critical portions of the system, which had long been needed,” said Gail McLeod, Chair, DUWA and Mayor, City of Allen Park. “It will also enable us to implement processes which will reduce operating costs and reliance on landfills, thus having a positive impact on our environment. It is anticipated these combined efforts will result in job creation as well as savings to the organization, which will have a positive impact on the economy and our customers.”
EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of project costs of $36.4 million. Through WIFIA, EPA is playing a key role in efforts to build back better by improving and upgrading the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure in communities across the country. With this loan closing, EPA has announced 46 WIFIA loans totaling more than $9 billion in credit assistance to help finance over $19 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating more than 47,000 jobs.
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: https://www.epa.gov/wifia
Background on DUWA
DUWA is a public body corporate organized pursuant to Act 233. DUWA took on the major responsibility of owning the Downriver Sewage Disposal System (DSDS) in late September 2018, when the system was transferred from Wayne County to DUWA. The DSDS consists of a wastewater treatment plant which is situated on a 34-acre site in the City of Wyandotte, Michigan, along with several miles of interceptor pipe and a wet weather tunnel system, which is used to convey wastewater from 13 communities.
For more information about DUWA, visit: https://duwauthority.org/