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EPA Announces $280 Million Water Infrastructure Loan to City of Wichita, Kansas

04/27/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program(Lenexa, Kan., April 27, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $280 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the city of Wichita to help replace the city’s aging drinking water treatment plant with a new, state-of the-art facility. Wichita is the first borrower in Kansas and the fourth borrower in the Midwest to receive a WIFIA loan to support its communities.

“Through WIFIA, EPA is playing a key role in President Trump’s efforts to improve and upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure in communities both large and small,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this loan closing, EPA has now issued 18 WIFIA loans totaling $4 billion in credit assistance to help finance $9 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating 18,000 jobs.”

“This WIFIA loan and the Kansas State Revolving Loan Fund will provide tremendous support to the city of Wichita in their efforts to modernize and upgrade local water infrastructure,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “As this project continues, EPA Region 7 looks forward to working with both programs to support the city of Wichita in the construction of the Northwest Water Treatment Facility, a plant that will help provide long-term sustainability and a safe, secure water supply.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Kansans rely on clean, safe water in our area, requiring a water treatment facility that meets the needs of our current and future growth,” said Congressman Ron Estes (KS-04). “The EPA’s loan will help replace the Northwest Water Treatment Facility, ensuring the we have a reliable water source. I want to thank President Trump and his administration for their dedication to improving infrastructure in Kansas and across the United States.”

With the ability to treat up to 120 million gallons of water each day, the Northwest Water Treatment Facility is a water treatment plant that will serve the city of Wichita, surrounding communities, industries, and wholesale customers. The project will provide a safe and reliable drinking water supply for the 500,000 residents in the service area. The new plant will replace the existing, 80-year old treatment plant.

“This is the culmination of years of hard work and collaboration from multiple agencies and community partners to safeguard our water supply,” said Wichita City Council Member Bryan Frye. “The new treatment plant will ensure Wichita is able to grow and develop our critical infrastructure as our community develops.”

“We want to thank our federal partners for helping to finance our Northwest Water Treatment Center and supporting our need for a clean, safe and sustainable source of water,” said Wichita City Council Member Brandon Johnson. “The WIFIA loan will lessen the impact on ratepayers and absorb large increases.”

This water treatment plant will cost $570 million. EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure – up to $280 million. Additionally, the Kansas Drinking Water State Revolving Fund will finance approximately $270 million. The WIFIA loan will save the city of Wichita an estimated $97 million compared to typical bond financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create 1,800 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 and low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. EPA’s WIFIA program plays an important part in President Trump’s infrastructure plan, which calls for expanding project eligibility. 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 2019, please see the Agency’s first WIFIA annual report.

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