Nationally, 65 WIFIA loans are financing over $26 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating over 75,000 jobs
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $22 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Erie County Water Authority in upstate New York. This low-interest loan will finance infrastructure upgrades to help ensure the delivery of safe and reliable drinking water to the community while bolstering the climate resiliency of the drinking water system.
“Accelerating investment in our nation’s water infrastructure that communities like Erie County depend on for health and opportunity, is an essential part of EPA’s mission,” EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “We are proud to partner with Erie County Water Authority on this project to reduce costs while supporting public health and climate resiliency. Projects like this illustrate benefits to come through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
Erie County Water Authority’s Strategic Plan Improvements Project is composed of three components that will modernize the county’s aging drinking water treatment plants and pumping station. By modernizing elements of the facilities that are beyond their useful life, the county will improve the reliability of the drinking water system’s operations and ensure that it can meet current and future demand. Powdered activated carbon systems will address the growing threat of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, the system’s water source, improving resilience to impacts of the climate crisis.
“Erie County Water Authority Commissioners are grateful for receiving the EPA WIFIA loan as it helps our customers by lessening a financial burden as we continue to implement our strategic plan of addressing critical infrastructure needs,” said Russell J. Stoll, P.E., Chief Operating Officer at Erie County Water Authority. “We look forward to addressing our infrastructure needs that include providing water system resiliency, high quality and reliable water supply and a regional presence while enhancing service to all our customers.”
The $22 million WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of the $46 million project costs. Erie County Water Authority will save approximately $3.1 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 150 jobs and construction is expected to be completed in 2024.
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. With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 65 WIFIA loans that are providing over $12 billion in credit assistance to help finance approximately over $26 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 75,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $4.5 billion.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.