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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Invites Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to Apply for $111M Water Infrastructure Loan to Improve Water Quality Reduce Pollution to Lake Pontchartrain

10/22/2019
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (R6Press@epa.gov)
214-665-2200

DALLAS – (Oct. 22, 2019) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Sewerage and Water Board (SWRB) of New Orleans is among those invited to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. Together, 38 projects in 18 states will apply for WIFIA loans totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create almost 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 over $12 billion 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 up to 190,000 jobs.”

“As one of our nation’s oldest cities, New Orleans understands that maintaining and improving infrastructure helps to prevent problems,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “This loan will help the city deliver clean water to residents and keep pollution out of Lake Pontchartrain.”

“This is a major milestone for our Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans team, our customers and our city,” Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Executive Director Ghassan Korban said. “I want to thank EPA for their confidence in our ability to make good on our promises to New Orleans residents. This loan will help ensure the success of the rehabilitation of our sewer system and is a welcomed sign that our utility is heading in the right direction.”

SWRB is invited to apply for $111 million to fund the Sewer System Evaluation and Rehabilitation program. This program aims to minimize sanitary system overflows, reducing polluted discharges into Lake Pontchartrain and improving public health. Repair to the sewer system will also help the city of New Orleans comply with an existing consent decree regarding sanitary sewer overflow violations.

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).

Six prospective borrowers that submitted letters of interest in response to a WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability resubmitted them for 2019 and are now 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 will apply for additional financing again this round. WIFIA is also expanding its geographic scope by inviting entities from seven additional states to submit applications: 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.

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