U.S. EPA Announces $69 Million WIFIA Loan for Innovative Water Recycling Project in Oceanside, CA
Nationally, EPA’s 27 WIFIA loans are helping finance more than $12 billion in water infrastructure projects
Oceanside, Calif. – Today, at an event with Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss, U.S. Representative Mike Levin and other officials, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross announced a $69 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to help finance the Pure Water Oceanside Project. This innovative water reuse project will purify recycled water to create a new source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and sustainable while benefitting the environment by reducing discharges into the ocean.
“EPA’s support for this project illustrates two agency priorities as we work to meet 21st century water demands—reusing the water that we have and revamping our nation’s water infrastructure,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. “With WIFIA’s support, Pure Water Oceanside will be a landmark project as EPA looks to foster additional innovative water reuse strategies and infrastructure investments across the country.”
The Pure Water Oceanside Project will enhance the city’s water system by constructing a new advanced water purification facility and expanding the existing recycled water distribution system. The Project will supply Mission Basin with an additional 4.5 million gallons per day (MGD) of highly purified water that will improve overall water quality in the aquifer, relieve over-pumping conditions and reduce discharges to the Pacific Ocean. The project will also reduce the demand for imported water by providing a local, drought-proof water supply produced by the city.
“By improving water infrastructure, we are improving the quality of life and public health in our communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Through the WIFIA loan program, EPA is happy to support the Pure Water Oceanside Project in ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water for decades to come.”
“I am proud and excited for the City of Oceanside and everyone who has worked so hard on the Pure Water Oceanside project. Now more than ever, it’s critically important that we diversify our water supply. Thanks to Pure Water Oceanside, the City of Oceanside, and this EPA loan, we are one step closer to achieving that independence,” said U.S. Representative Mike Levin (CA). “This is an extraordinary milestone and will make a huge difference for countless families in North County. The cooperation between local, state, and federal governments is truly impressive, and I’ll continue to support this project in any way I can.”
“The City of Oceanside is proud to be a leader in sustainability and water reliability. Pure Water Oceanside marks the next big step for our City as the project will safeguard against drought, reduce our dependence on imported water, and create an exceptionally pure drinking water supply,” said Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss. “I appreciate the U.S. EPA in their funding support as it is a critical aspect for Oceanside’s ability to continue to improve our local water supplies while minimizing our impact to our rate payers.”
The water reuse benefits of this project highlight commitments made under the National Water Reuse Action Plan—a collaborative effort and the first initiative of its magnitude aimed at strengthening the sustainability, security and resilience of our nation’s water resources. The Action Plan frames the business case that water reuse is a viable and growing means of supporting our economy and improving the availability of freshwater for farmers, industry, communities, and ecosystems. The Action Plan identifies 37 specific actions across 11 strategic themes, including highlighting the potential for EPA’s WIFIA loan program to help finance water reuse projects.
WIFIA is providing financial support at a critical time as the federal government, EPA, and the water sector work together to help mitigate the public health and financial impacts of COVID-19. This project will cost $158 million, and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure. The remaining project funds will come from a combination of grants, water system revenue backed obligations, and system funds. The WIFIA loan will save the City of Oceanside an estimated $24 million compared to typical market financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create 622 jobs. Since the beginning of March 2020, WIFIA has closed eleven loans and updated three existing loans with lower interest rates. These recent efforts by EPA’s WIFIA program will save ratepayers over $1 billion compared to typical market financing. Since the first WIFIA loan closed in April 2018, EPA has issued 27 WIFIA loans totaling $5.7 billion in credit assistance to help finance $12 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating 26,800 jobs and saving ratepayers $2.6 billion.
Background on WIFIA
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, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. 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.
EPA is currently accepting Letters of Interest for FY 2020. Approximately $5 billion in financing is available. For more information about the FY 2020 selection process, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-funding-currently-available.
For more information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2019, visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-first-wifia-annual-report-highlighting-35-billion-infrastructure-funding.