EPA Announces $186 Million WIFIA Loan to Modernize Wastewater Infrastructure in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Nationally, 94 WIFIA loans are financing over $34 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 104,000 jobs
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $186 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to support its Wastewater Compliance and Sustainability Project. With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping the City of Chattanooga improve its wastewater system’s energy efficiency and resilience to extreme weather while saving ratepayers millions of dollars.
“As Chattanooga continues to grow in population, it’s more urgent than ever to provide effective wastewater services to protect this burgeoning community,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “At the same time, I’m excited EPA can partner with Chattanooga to create 3,000 jobs in construction and operation locally.”
The Wastewater Compliance and Sustainability Project will modernize the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant, which serves customers throughout the City of Chattanooga and adjacent communities in Hamilton County, Tennessee, and Walker County and Catoosa County, Georgia. The City of Chattanooga will improve storage and treatment capacity at the plant to provide resiliency during extreme weather events and support compliance with its consent decree
"Chattanooga's outdoor resources are our greatest competitive advantage, and innovative funding solutions are critical to ensuring we have the resources needed to preserve them for future generations," said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. "That's why I'm incredibly grateful for EPA's partnership on these low-interest loans, which will allow us to future-proof our sewer system and better protect our beloved waterways, all while maintaining low rates for Chattanooga residents."
The City of Chattanooga is helping keep rates affordable by taking advantage of the WIFIA program’s flexibility to defer principal repayment until 2032, six years after construction completion. By financing with a WIFIA loan, the City of Chattanooga will save approximately $48 million. Construction and operation are estimated to create approximately 3,0000 jobs.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The WIFIA program’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. With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 94 WIFIA loans that are providing $16 billion in credit assistance to help finance over $34 billion for water infrastructure while creating 104,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. In June, EPA announced the availability of $5.5 billion under the 2022 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1 billion under the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. Together, this newly available funding will support more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs.