News Releases from Region 09
EPA Selects Morro Bay Project to Apply for Water Infrastructure Loan
Projects selected will help improve water quality for 20 million Americans across the United States
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has invited the City of Morro Bay to apply for an $82 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan. The City of Morro Bay submitted a letter of interest to EPA in April 2017 and was selected from a group of projects that represent large and small communities from across the United States.
“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.”
The City of Morro Bay’s project focuses on water recycling. Through the project, the City will remove and replace its 63-year-old Morro Bay-Cayucos Wastewater Treatment Plant with a new water recycling facility. The new facility will recycle all the City’s wastewater using advanced treatment technology to help supplement water supply and reduce reliance on imported water. The project will greatly reduce discharges to the bay, and improve the quality of water used for groundwater recharge.
“Our new Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) project will replace the City’s aging wastewater treatment plant,” said Jamie L. Irons, mayor of Morro Bay. “Ultimately water reclamation is the future to insure resilient and sustainable communities. The future WRF project will ultimately produce enough reclaimed water to reduce our reliance on imported water.”
Other entities selected to apply for WIFIA loans in California, and their respective project types, are:
- San Francisco Public Utility Commission – wastewater treatment
- Orange County Water District – water recycling
- City of San Diego - water recycling
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 12 prospective projects to submit applications for loans.
In FY2017, the WIFIA program received $25 million, including an additional $8 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on May 5, 2017. This year’s projects will also leverage more than a billion dollars in private capital and 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.
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. The WIFIA program’s funding in President Trump’s FY18 budget is $20 million, an amount that should fund approximately $1 billion in loans.
EPA fact sheets on the 12 prospective projects can be found at: www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-fy-2017-selected-projects-summary-factsheets
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.