EPA Announces $55 Million WIFIA Loan to Modernize Wastewater Infrastructure in Providence, Rhode Island, and Protect Narragansett Bay
Nationally, 89 WIFIA loans are financing nearly $33 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 100,000 jobs
BOSTON (July 27, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $55 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Narragansett Bay Commission in Providence, Rhode Island. EPA's third WIFIA loan to the Commission will help finance upgrades to increase climate resiliency and cybersecurity at one of the nation's oldest wastewater facilities.
"Water is essential, and resilient wastewater infrastructure ensures that we can count on the pumps and pipes that safely return used water to the environment," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. "The Field's Point Wastewater Facilities are among the oldest in the country, and I am so pleased that the Narragansett Bay Commission is using its WIFIA loan to protect the system from vulnerabilities due to extreme weather events as well as cybersecurity threats."
The Field's Point Wastewater Treatment Facilities has been in continuous operation for nearly 100 years. EPA's WIFIA loan will help the Narragansett Bay Commission ensure the reliable operation of these facilities by making them more resilient to increasing extreme weather events in the northeast and potential cybersecurity attacks. The project replaces the odor control system, implements improvements to disinfection and de-chlorination systems, and constructs a new septage receiving station. It improves the system's resiliency by improving cybersecurity to protect critical information technology infrastructure and installing standby power capabilities to maintain uninterrupted operation of treatment processes. Additionally, the project will support the installation of a solar carport at Field's Point that will help power the wastewater treatment plant.
"The Narragansett Bay Commission is so gratified to again participate in the WIFIA program," said Narragansett Bay Commission Chairman Vincent Mesolella. "We are tremendously excited to continue our work to build a resilient clean water future for our ratepayers and all Rhode Islanders."
Today's announcement marks the Narragansett Bay Commission's third WIFIA loan, bringing the total amount of financing provided by EPA to $515 million. The Narragansett Bay Commission will save approximately $13.5 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026 and construction and operation are estimated to create approximately 348 jobs.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/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. 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 89 WIFIA loans that are providing over $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $33 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 100,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
Earlier this spring, 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. More information on the 2022 WIFIA funding availability can be found here.