EPA Announces $40 Million Water Infrastructure Loan to Toho Water Authority
WASHINGTON (February 18, 2020) — Today, as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 50th anniversary celebration, the agency announced a $40 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Toho Water Authority in Kissimmee, Florida. The loan will help finance projects that will improve the efficiency of the existing sewer and wastewater management systems and support community growth without needing to expand the existing wastewater treatment facility.
“This WIFIA loan will improve water quality and support the economy of Kissimmee while delivering on President Trump’s commitment to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, create jobs and safeguard public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this loan closing, EPA has now issued 16 WIFIA loans totaling more than $3.5 billion in credit assistance to help finance more than $8 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating more than 16,000 jobs.”
“By investing in water infrastructure, the Toho Water Authority is improving water quality in their community and protecting public health,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Through the WIFIA loan program, EPA works to fund critical repairs necessary to strengthen our wastewater treatment and drinking water distribution systems.”
Toho Water Authority will repair, rehabilitate and replace sewer mains, sewer lines and manholes, including 65 wastewater pumping station basins and over 900,000 feet of gravity mains. The project will mitigate emergency failures such as sanitary sewer overflows that result from problems with the current infrastructure. The project will also reduce inflow and infiltration into the gravity sewer system. These improvements will benefit 300,000 people by effectively increasing treatment capacity while allowing further community growth without expanding the existing wastewater treatment facility.
“I have been a champion of Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act funds since I joined the Senate Appropriations Committee, and I am proud that Kissimmee will benefit from this critical federal investment,” Senator Rubio said. “Toho Water Authority will utilize the $40 million loan to finance projects that will improve water quality and support Kissimmee’s local economy. I applaud the administration for its continued commitment and investment in Florida’s critical infrastructure.”
“We thank the EPA for approving this major project to improve water quality and supply for Central Florida,” said Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09). “This will greatly assist our growing region while ensuring our beautiful Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Kissimmee River and other sensitive water bodies remain protected.”
Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “through these loans, EPA is providing critical funding and support as the Toho Water Authority in Kissimmee, Florida works to improve their sewer and wastewater management systems. We applaud EPA’s commitment to improving Florida’s water quality.”
“Toho’s investment in these projects will continue to improve the reliability of our wastewater infrastructure while demonstrating our ongoing commitment to safeguarding public health and the State’s water quality,” said Toho Water Authority, Board Chairman, Clarence Thacker. “We are grateful to the EPA and Congress, including our local delegation which includes Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott and Congressman Darren Soto, who have made the acceleration of our wastewater infrastructure improvements possible through this low-interest WIFIA loan program.
This project—referred to as the Accelerated Gravity Sewer Assessment and Rehabilitation project—will cost $81.9 million. EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure—up to $40.1 million. The WIFIA loan will save the Toho Water Authority an estimated $7.9 million compared to typical bond financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create 198 jobs.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia.
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. In 2019, EPA selected 38 new projects to apply for WIFIA loans, totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments. The selected projects will help support key agency priorities, including reducing lead and emergent contaminants and developing water reuse and recycling capacity. Together, the selected projects will improve water quality for 24 million people in 18 states.