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EPA Recognizes RI Project to Protect Waste Water Infrastructure

11/28/2018
Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1017

BOSTON - A project in Newport, RI, was among four projects in New England to repair and upgrade waste water infrastructure that were recognized for excellence and innovation by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The city of Newport, R.I., was recognized for its Wellington Avenue combined sewer overflow treatment facility upgrade.

"The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program helps communities and water systems through low-interest loans that can be used to update aging infrastructure, create jobs, and protect the public health and the environment," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. "The scale and complexity of the projects that are being recognized show the determination and creativity of EPA's partners in achieving water quality goals."

The Newport, RI, Wellington Avenue Combined Sewage Overflow Treatment Facility lies along the edge of Newport Harbor next to Kings Park Beach. Since 1978, this facility has reduced sewer overflows that would otherwise get discharged into the harbor. The location of the facility leaves it vulnerable to flooding. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tide gauge at the location has documented nearly a one-foot rise in sea level since 1930. Although elevated, the first floor of the plant would be a foot under water in the event of a 100-year flood.

To upgrade and fortify the plant, the city received a $5.4 million, 20-year Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan with a 2.16 percent interest rate from the RI Infrastructure Bank. These upgrades added flood protection and resiliency due to threats of rising sea levels. They increased the capacity of plant to eliminate combined sewer overflows and improved the chlorination system. The loans also paid to assess the possibility of incorporating de-chlorination as an interim measure, and made improvements to electrical, mechanical, and HVAC system.

The other projects were in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine; Waterbury, Vt., and Grafton, Mass. These were among 30 honored nationwide as part of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.

Background

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a federal-state partnership, gives communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects. Over the past 31 years, its programs have provided more than $132 billion in financing for water quality infrastructure.

Within the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, a "Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success" program celebrates innovation. The projects that were recognized through this program ran the gamut from large wastewater infrastructure projects to small decentralized and agriculture projects.

Learn more about each of the 2018 PISCES recognized projects at https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf/pisces.