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EPA Selects Miami-Dade County, Florida Project to Apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Loans

2017 loans will help improve water quality for 20 million Americans by accelerating investment in our nation’s water infrastructure

07/19/2017
Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young, (harris-young.dawn@epa.gov)
(404) 562-8421 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting Miami-Dade County, Florida’s Ocean Outfall Discharge Reduction and Resiliency Enhancement Project to Apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Loans.  The Miami-Dade County project is one of 12 projects in nine states to apply for more than $2 billion in WIFIA loans. These projects were selected from a group of 43 projects that submitted letters of interest to EPA in April 2017.

“Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is a critical pillar of the President’s agenda,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These large-scale projects will improve water quality for 20 million Americans, especially those communities that need it the most – such as rural and urban communities.”

Miami‐Dade Water and Sewer Department will construct new injection wells at a series of wastewater treatment plants to allow for the redirecting of effluent discharges from the ocean outfalls to these wells. The project is required to be completed by 2025 in order to comply with the State of Florida ocean outfall legislation. The project will increase availability of reclaimed water for potential reuse, reduce sanitary sewer overflows, increase capacity for the management of peak wet weather flows, and meet the advanced wastewater treatment levels.

 “Last Congress I was proud to introduce legislation that was signed into law to give local governments tools like tax-exempt municipal WIFIA bonds to revitalize our nation’s aging water infrastructure systems,” said United States Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26). “American municipalities need innovative, low-cost solutions to meet the great demands placed on water infrastructure systems, especially in Miami-Dade County. The WIFIA program will encourage investment and create jobs in South Florida, and I’m glad Miami-Dade County will be granted the opportunity to apply for these funds. I look forward to supporting their efforts to secure the loans necessary to upgrade our water pipes and sewers.”

“I am very pleased that the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) has been invited to apply for a WIFIA loan,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “This will not only aid the department in our mission to provide quality waste water removal services for our community, but assists us as we continuously explore alternate funding options for our 15 to 20-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). It is important that we are not only good stewards of our natural resources, but our rate-payers’ financial resources, as well.”

This year’s projects will also leverage more than $1 billion in private capital, in addition to other funding sources including EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans, to help finance a total of $5.1 billion in water infrastructure investments. The selected projects demonstrate the broad range of project types that the WIFIA program can finance including wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and water recycling projects.

EPA received 43 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2017 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). After a robust, statutorily required review process, the WIFIA Selection Committee chose the following 12 projects to submit applications for loans:

  1. Miami-Dade County, Florida - Ocean Outfall Discharge Reduction and Resiliency Enhancement Project.
  2. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, California - Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant Biosolids Digester Facilities Project.
  3. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri - Deer Creek Sanitary Tunnel and Sanitary Relief.
  4. City of Omaha, Nebraska - Saddle Creek Combined Sewer Overflow Retention Treatment Basin.
  5. Orange County Water District, California - Groundwater Replenishment System Final Expansion.
  6. City of San Diego, California - Pure Water San Diego.
  7. Indiana Finance Authority, Indiana - Indiana Finance Authority FY 2017.
  8. King County, Washington - Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station.
  9. Baltimore City Department of Public Works, Maryland - Comprehensive Infrastructure Repair, Rehabilitation and Replacement Program.
  10. Maine Water Company, Maine - Saco River Water Treatment Facility. (Private)
  11. City of Morro Bay, California - Water Reclamation Facility Project. (Small Community)
  12. City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee - Water Treatment Plant Design and Construction.

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act established by Congress in 2014 requires EPA to follow a selection framework that includes an assessment of letters of interest by performing an eligibility screening, a preliminary creditworthiness assessment, and an evaluation of the selection criteria. The WIFIA program selection criteria and respective weights are available in the WIFIA Handbook (Appendix C, page 53).

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a new federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in our nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-fy-2017-selected-projects-summary-factsheets

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