EPA Invites 3 Chicago-Area Projects to Apply for $461 million in Loans to Improve Water Quality
55 projects across the country will provide water infrastructure upgrades for 30 million Americans while creating over 40,000 jobs
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 55 new projects in 20 states are being invited to apply for approximately $5.1 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans, including three in the Chicago area. This funding will help finance over $12 billion in clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects to protect public health and improve water quality in communities across the United States.
“EPA built one of the greatest financing tools for investing in America’s water infrastructure in history when it stood up the WIFIA program in 2018,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These 55 new projects will facilitate $12 billion in water infrastructure to help address some of the most pressing challenges faced by water systems across this country.”
Since the first WIFIA loan closed in 2018, EPA has announced 41 WIFIA loans that are providing $7.8 billion in credit assistance to help finance $16.8 billion for water infrastructure while creating more than 38,800 jobs and saving ratepayers $3.7 billion. EPA received 67 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2020 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). After a robust statutorily required review process, the WIFIA Selection Committee chose 55 prospective borrowers’ projects to submit applications for loans and placed three prospective borrowers on a waitlist.
The WIFIA program is expanding its geographic scope by inviting entities from Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, and West Virginia for the first time. Four prospective borrowers that submitted letters of interest in response to a previous WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability resubmitted them for 2020 and have been invited to proceed in the 2020 funding round. Seven borrowers who have already received a WIFIA loan or are in the process of closing a loan have been invited to apply for additional financing. This action complements EPA November 2020 announcement that California, Iowa, and Rhode Island were invited to apply for a total of $695 million in loans through EPA’s new state infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program.
Selected Projects in the Chicago area:
- Chicago Department of Water Management (Illinois): Water Main and Lead Service Line Replacement Program; $336 million to replace water mains and the associated lead service lines in the City of Chicago’s drinking water distribution system. The purpose of these projects is to remove lead service lines from the Chicago water distribution system to limit negative public health effects.
- City of Evanston (Illinois): 36”/42” Raw Water Intake Replacement; $27 million. The project will replace aging infrastructure that is underperforming in order to maintain capacity and regulatory compliance of the water treatment facility. The 36”/42” Raw Water Intake Replacement Project will include the design and construction of the replacement intake and the abandonment of the existing intake that is currently failing.
- Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (Illinois): Capital Improvement Projects; $98 million on various projects. Five projects involve rehabilitation of intercepting sewers to eliminate inflow and infiltration. One project provides connections to the tunnel and reservoir plan to relieve wet weather flow. Six projects will rehabilitate or replace infrastructure at the water reclamation plants. The final project adds a chemical treatment system to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant to reduce phosphorus in wastewater. The purpose of these projects is to preserve the useful life of the facilities and increase the capacity or efficiency of these facilities.
To learn more about the 55 projects that are invited to apply, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects
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.