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EPA Announces $388M WIFIA Loan for Water Reuse in San Diego County, California

Nationally, 51 WIFIA loans are financing $21B in infrastructure and creating 51,000 jobs

06/04/2021
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

SANTEE, Calif. – Today, at an event in East San Diego County, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox announced a $388 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the East County Joint Powers Authority for its Advanced Water Purification Project. With EPA’s WIFIA loan, this innovative project will produce purified water to meet up to 30 percent of East County’s drinking water demand, increasing reliability in the drought-stressed region, while saving East County millions of dollars. 

“EPA is proud to partner on this project, which uses proven technology to bolster drinking water supplies in this climate-stressed region,” said EPA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Water infrastructure is one of the best investments we can make to improve public health and the environment, create jobs, and address pressing challenges that face our communities.”

The Advanced Water Purification Project will create a new, local, sustainable drinking water source to reduce the region’s dependence on water imported from out of state and increase climate resilience. The project treats East County’s wastewater for reuse by producing purified water that is sent to the Lake Jennings Reservoir, the county’s local drinking water supply source. When fully operational, the project will treat up to 16 million gallons of wastewater per day. 

“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is unique and forward thinking in so many ways,” said East County Chair and City of El Cajon Councilmember Steve Gobel. “One reason in particular is the unprecedented collaboration of four East San Diego County entities which have come together with the common goal of water reliability at a competitive cost to imported water and the treatment of wastewater. The low-cost WIFIA loan is instrumental in enabling this important Program to make financial sense to achieve these goals for the residents and communities we serve.”

“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is an investment to stabilize East County’s drinking water and wastewater rates while also safe-guarding our future generations by ensuring they have a clean, pure, reliable and high-quality drinking water supply that is local, reliable, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound,” said East County Program Administrator and Padre Dam Municipal Water District CEO/General Manager Allen Carlisle.

This project will cost $791 million and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure, saving East County an estimated $140 million that supports stable water utility rates for customers. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 2,500 local jobs.

With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 51 WIFIA loans that are providing nearly $10 billion in credit assistance to help finance almost $21 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 51,000 jobs and saving ratepayers nearly $4.5 billion. On March 31, 2021, President Biden announced the American Jobs Plan, which proposes to build on successful water infrastructure programs by investing an unprecedented $111 billion in water infrastructure. 

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.

EPA is accepting Letters of Interest for FY 2021 until July 23, 2021. Approximately $6.5 billion in financing is available. For more information about the FY 2021 selection process, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-funding-currently-available

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, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.