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EPA Selects San Francisco Project to Apply for Water Infrastructure Loan

Projects selected will help improve water quality for 20 million Americans across the United States

07/19/2017
Contact Information: 
Michele Huitric (huitric.michele@epa.gov)
415-972-3165

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has invited the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) to apply for a $625 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan. SFPUC 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.”

SFPUC’s project focuses on wastewater treatment system updates. The project will replace SFPUC’s outdated 60-year old solids treatment facility with upgraded infrastructure that will produce higher-quality biosolids and maximize biogas utilization and energy recovery. The project will also capture and treat odors more effectively, reducing odor impact on the neighboring residences and businesses.

“With the help of the federal government’s low-cost loan program, we’re going to upgrade our City’s sewer infrastructure while realizing significant savings for ratepayers,” said Harlan L. Kelly Jr., General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The rebuild of our biosolids digesters will help modernize our sewer system and provide us with an opportunity to create good, high quality jobs in the parts of the City that need them the most.”

Other entities selected to apply for WIFIA loans in California, and their respective project types, are:

  • Orange County Water District - water recycling
  • City of San Diego - water recycling
  • City of Morro Bay - 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.

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