News Releases from Region 10
EPA Invites Seattle to Apply for WIFIA Water Infrastructure Loan
SEATTLE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is inviting Seattle Public Utilities to apply for a $197 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to build the Ship Canal Water Quality Project.
“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 Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This year, EPA will help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments that will create up to 155,000 jobs, upgrade aging infrastructure, reduce lead exposure, and improve the lives of millions of Americans across the country.”
After a robust, statutorily required review process, the Seattle Public Utilities Ship Canal Water Quality Project was selected as one of 39 projects nationwide, from a group of 62 prospective borrowers, representing large and small communities, who submitted letters of interest to EPA in response to the 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Together, the selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling up to $5 billion to help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.
“Seattle Public Utilities continues to impress with their efforts to modernize the city’s critical water and wastewater infrastructure - no easy task in a growing city of over 725,000 people,” said EPA Pacific Northwest Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “This project is another important step to help protect people’s health and help to protect and restore Puget Sound.”
The Ship Canal Water Quality Project will build an offline storage tunnel to reduce the number and volume of Combined Sewer Overflows that discharge into the Lake Washington Ship Canal from Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and north Queen Anne. The project includes a 29-million-gallon offline storage tunnel, six diversion structures for diverting influent combined sewage away from existing Combined Sewer Overflows outfalls to the tunnel, five drop structures to convey combined sewage into the storage tunnel, and odor control systems. The purpose of this project is to partially fulfill the objective of the County’s Consent Decree Civil Action. This project will control seven uncontrolled outfalls to prevent more than 60 million gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater runoff from overflowing into the waterbody each year.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. EPA’s WIFIA loans will allow large and small communities across the country to implement projects to address two national water priorities – providing for clean and safe drinking water including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants and addressing aging water infrastructure.
To date, EPA has issued four loans totaling over $1 billion in WIFIA credit assistance. Combined, these four projects will create over 5,000 jobs.
According to EPA's estimate of national drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743 billion is needed for water infrastructure improvements. EPA’s WIFIA program plays an important part in fulfilling this need and in the President’s Infrastructure Plan, which calls for expanding project eligibility.
To learn more about the 39 projects that are invited to apply and about EPA’s WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.
EPA’s 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) can be viewed at: 2018 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).