EPA Announces Additional $235 Million Water Infrastructure Loan for Miami-Dade County
Loan marks third investment in past two years to update city’s water infrastructure
ATLANTA (August 6, 2020) — Today, through a virtual event with U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a new $235 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Miami-Dade County to help finance improvements and expansion of wastewater treatment facilities. The new loan continues EPA’s partnership with Miami-Dade County, which is working to reduce nutrient discharges, eliminate the use of ocean outfalls and also to reuse 60 percent of wastewater flows.
“Today, we commemorate the third low-interest WIFIA loan to Miami-Dade County —providing a total of $660 million to finance projects costing over $1.3 billion — in less than two years,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “President Trump’s EPA is collaborating with local partners to tackle the most pressing water challenges, while at the same time saving rate-payers $200 million and creating more than 500 jobs. The benefits to Miami-Dade County include reducing excess nutrients, improving the water quality in Biscayne Bay, and supporting the county’s efforts to promote water reuse.”
“I’m honored to have joined Administrator Wheeler, Regional Administrator Walker, and Mayor Carlos Gimenez to celebrate the third investment to help improve and advance the Miami-Dade County’s wastewater treatment facilities,” said U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25). “Having worked on funding for this program through my role on the Appropriations Committee, I know how far these dollars will go in our County. I cannot thank Administrator Wheeler and the Trump Administration enough for their commitment to the betterment of our nation, and Mayor Gimenez for his leadership and dedication to our community.”
“As the largest water and sewer utility in the southeastern United States, that serves more than 2.3 million people every day, it is vital that the system is resilient and has the flexibility to continuously serve the community even during severe weather events,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The upgrades that result from Miami-Dade County’s third consecutive partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency not only benefit increased service reliability for our community, but will benefit the environment, as well.”
“Water infrastructure plays an essential role in our state, both for the economy and for protecting the environment,” said U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). “I have championed WIFIA funds on the Appropriations committee, and I remain committed to Florida’s water quality as a matter of highest importance. These federal funds are an important investment to update and improve water systems in Miami-Dade County. I thank the Administration for its continued commitment to ensuring Florida receives the federal funding our state needs, especially federal funding to protect Florida’s environment.”
“Rebuilding aging water infrastructure across the Southeast is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Through this project, EPA is continuing to invest in wastewater infrastructure improvements in Miami-Dade – which will in turn result in environmental, quality of life and public health benefits in our communities.”
Funding provided under this WIFIA loan will finance upgrades at the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD)’s three wastewater treatment plants. Collectively, the upgrades will add system-wide capacity flexibility, assist in fulfilling state and federal requirements, as well as contribute to the wastewater treatment plants being more robust, resilient facilities that allow for continuous operation during severe weather events.
“Being awarded a third consecutive WIFIA low interest loan is extremely gratifying because we are not only able to accelerate upgrades that will result in system-wide improvements, but provide much needed employment opportunities, while saving our rate-payers more than $80 million during the course of the loan” said WASD Director Kevin Lynskey.
WASD’s South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (SDWWTP) Expansion will increase the permitted treatment capacity from 112.5 million gallons per day (MGD) to 131 MGD annual average daily flow and increase the peak hourly flow capacity of the facility. The department will also construct new municipal injection wells at the North and Central District Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs), which will help fulfill requirements of the state of Florida’s Ocean Outfall Legislation. The wastewater conveyance system to the three wastewater plants is interconnected, so flow can be directed between WWTPs to allow for operational flexibility. By increasing capacity at SDWWTP, service for the whole regional system improves.
The South District Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion and North and Central District Injection Wells Project will cost $480 million. EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure—up to $235 million. Additionally, the project will be financed by the Florida Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
Through WIFIA, EPA is playing a critical role in President Trump’s efforts to upgrade infrastructure and benefit communities across the nation. To date, EPA has issued 25 WIFIA loans totaling $5.5 billion in credit assistance to help finance $12.1 billion for water infrastructure projects while saving ratepayers $2.3 billion over traditional financing tools and creating 25,000 jobs—including nine WIFIA loans closed and one refinanced since the beginning of March 2020. These recent efforts by EPA’s WIFIA program will save ratepayers over $1 billion compared to typical bond financing—providing financial support at a critical time as the federal government, EPA and the water sector work together to help mitigate the public health and financial impacts of COVID-19.
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 tens of thousands of jobs.
For more information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2019, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-first-wifia-annual-report-highlighting-35-billion-infrastructure-funding.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia.