News Releases from Region 05
EPA Invites 38 Projects to Apply for Water Infrastructure Loans to Improve Water Quality for 24 Million Americans and Create up to 200,000 Jobs
Including the City of Joliet in Illinois, for its project to build infrastructure for a new drinking water source
For Immediate Release: No. 19-OPA090
JOLIET, Ill. [Oct. 22, 2019] – At an event held today in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that 38 new projects in 18 states are being invited to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. Together, the selected borrowers will apply for WIFIA loans totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 200,000 jobs.
“Through WIFIA, EPA is playing an integral role in President Trump’s efforts to improve and upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure and ensure all Americans have access to clean and safe water,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This announcement highlights billions of dollars in needed water infrastructure investments to upgrade aging infrastructure, reduce exposure to lead and emerging contaminants and improve the lives of millions of Americans across the country – all while creating almost 200,000 jobs.”
“Ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s most vital obligations,” said Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp. “The WIFIA loan program is one way that EPA is helping communities across the nation update their water infrastructure and protect the health and wellbeing of their residents for years to come.”
EPA’s WIFIA loans will allow communities across the country to implement projects to address national water priorities – including providing for clean and safe drinking water by reducing exposure to lead and emerging contaminants, addressing aging water infrastructure and developing water recycling and reuse projects. Specifically, eight of the selected projects are water reuse or recycling projects, 11 projects will reduce lead or emerging drinking water contaminants, and 33 will address aging infrastructure. EPA received 51 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2019 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). After a robust, statutorily required review process, the WIFIA Selection Committee chose the City of Joliet to apply funding for their Alternative Water Source Program, which aims to secure a sustainable drinking water source for 207,000 residents living in the Joliet, Ill. area. The aquifer currently supplying Joliet’s wells will not meet maximum day demands by 2030.
Six prospective borrowers that submitted letters of interest in response to a previous WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability resubmitted them for 2019 and have been invited to proceed in the 2019 funding round. Eight 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 round. WIFIA is also expanding its geographic scope by inviting entities from seven states that had not previously received WIFIA funding: Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North Dakota, Utah, and Virginia. To learn more about the 38 projects that are invited to apply, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.
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.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.