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News Releases from Region 10

EPA invites Tacoma and Seattle to apply for $115 million in loans for wastewater projects

$98 million Lake Washington Ship Canal, $17 million Tacoma wastewater projects are eligible

10/24/2019
Contact Information: 
Bill Dunbar (dunbar.bill@epa.gov)
2065531019

SEATTLE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting a total of 39 projects in 19 states 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 190,000 jobs.

Major wastewater facilities in Tacoma and Seattle are among the eligible projects.

“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.”

“I know first-hand how important it is to find outside capital when a community needs critical infrastructure investments,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick. “These wastewater projects in Washington are important public health investments, so we’re pleased that Tacoma and Seattle are included in this list of eligible communities.” 

“The City of Tacoma is grateful for the EPA’s invitation to apply for WIFIA funding to deliver critical improvements at Tacoma’s Central Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Slevin. “This facility treats over 7 billion gallons of wastewater annually, and any sustained loss of power could cause environmental damage. This project will improve reliability, increase redundancy, and reduce risks to the environment. We are committed to protecting the Puget Sound and appreciate the EPA’s support.”

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. 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 Tacoma and Seattle wastewater treatment projects to be in the eligible pool of applicants:

  • City of Tacoma Sewer Utility Central Wastewater Treatment Plant Electrical Distribution System Replacement Project -- $17 million

The Electrical Distribution System Replacement Project will repair, replace, and rehabilitate the entire electrical distribution system at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. The purpose of the project is to improve the reliability and redundancy of the facility’s primary electrical power.

  • King County Ship Canal Water Quality Project -- $98 million

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 the Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and north Queen Anne neighborhoods of the city. The purpose of the project is to fulfill the requirements in the consent decrees for both King County and the City of Seattle to control CSO discharges at six designated locations. The project is projected to reduce the volume of CSO discharges by about 90 percent and result in substantial water quality benefits.

To learn more about the 39 projects that are invited to apply, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.  

Background

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.

Contact:            EPA/Bill Dunbar/206-553-1019

                             Tacoma/Stacy Ellifritt/253-591-2005

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