EPA Announces $38 Million WIFIA Loan to Modernize Water Infrastructure in Englewood, Colorado
Nationally, 88 WIFIA loans are financing nearly $33 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 100,000 jobs
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a second Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Englewood, Colorado, for $38 million to support the City’s drinking water initiative, the One Water Modernization Program. With EPA’s WIFIA loan, Englewood will protect its drinking water system from the impacts of extreme weather events and reduce exposure to lead while promoting regulatory compliance.
“Drinking water utilities across the country, but most certainly in the west, are facing compounding issues – aging infrastructure, emerging contaminants, climate impacts, and severe drought,” said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. “I’m thrilled that Englewood will be using their second WIFIA loan to increase resiliency and provide cleaner, safer water, all while saving their residents money and creating good-paying jobs. These are the exact types of projects that EPA will be funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in communities across the country.”
“I applaud the City of Englewood for investing in clean water infrastructure to protect residents and save the city money,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “This will help Englewood cover the cost of efforts to safeguard water infrastructure and reduce the community’s exposure to lead in drinking water.”
“Everyone should have access to clean drinking water,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1). “With this additional funding, we’ll be able to further protect Englewood’s drinking water system from the threat of extreme weather events and help ensure everyone in our community has access to the safe, clean water they need, when they need it.”
“Colorado Front Range communities must prioritize resiliency as we continue to grow and as climate change brings about and intensifies extreme weather,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “By taking advantage of EPA’s WIFIA loan program, the City of Englewood is leading the pack, prioritizing clean water access while creating good-paying jobs.”
Englewood, Colorado, is located in a water-constrained and rapidly changing region. As a result, the city is pursuing a comprehensive water infrastructure modernization plan called One Water Modernization Program. With this loan, Englewood will modernize its drinking water treatment and distribution systems to be more resilient during floods, blizzards, and other extreme weather events. The city will also replace thousands of lead service lines, improve drinking water taste and odor, and increase water supply by 290 acre-feet of water per year. Additionally, homeowners will be converted from flat rate, non-metered water services to a metered system to save customers money and promote water conservation.
“The EPA’s $38 million WIFIA loan will be critical to modernizing our water treatment plant, addressing lead service lines, and making our water system safer and more resilient,” said Englewood Mayor Othoniel Sierra. “We feel very fortunate to access this level of funding with much lower borrowing costs. It allows the City to make these critical improvements while keeping rates affordable for our customers.”
Englewood will save approximately $15.7 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Construction and operation are estimated to create approximately 565 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 will prioritize projects that help achieve the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities.
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 88 WIFIA loans that are providing $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $33 billion for water infrastructure while creating 100,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.