EPA Loan Supports City’s Pure Water Project, Cuts City Costs, and Adds 480 Local Jobs
Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a $614M Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of San Diego, Calif., to help finance its Pure Water project.
“This WIFIA loan will help San Diego construct a state-of-the-art water purification facility that will produce 30 million gallons of clean drinking water each day,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Through WIFIA, EPA is playing a leading role in President Trump’s efforts to upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure, create well-paying jobs, and ensure all Americans have access to clean drinking water.”
With EPA’s WIFIA loan, the City of San Diego will construct a new advanced facility to produce 30 million of gallons per day of high-quality drinking water. This additional drinking water supply will save the city money through reduced imported water costs, will benefit the environment through reduced discharges into the ocean, and will provide a reliable, sustainable, water supply for future generations.
“This federal funding is validation that our Pure Water Program is cutting edge technology and a worthy investment for San Diego’s future water independence,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This is going to be one of the most significant infrastructure projects in San Diego history and will deliver clean, reliable water to our residents for decades to come.”
The City of San Diego’s Pure Water project is estimated to cost $1.4B. EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance nearly half that amount—up to $614M. Because the WIFIA program offers loans with low interest rates, the City is expected to save up to an estimated $184M compared to typical bond issuance. Project construction and operations are expected to create 480 jobs, with construction beginning in 2019 and targeted for completion in 2023.
“EPA is pleased to invest in San Diego’s water infrastructure, to serve the needs of residents for generations to come,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with the City to support safe drinking water, and effective wastewater collection and treatment to protect beaches and the marine environment.”
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. To date, President Trump’s EPA has issued five loans totaling over $1.5B in WIFIA credit assistance. Combined, these five projects will create 6,000 jobs.
On Nov. 1, 2018, EPA invited 39 projects in 16 states and D.C. to apply for a WIFIA loan. Together, the selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5B to help finance over $10B in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.
According to EPA's estimate of national drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743B is needed for water infrastructure improvements. EPA’s WIFIA program plays an important part in fulfilling this need and in the President’s Infrastructure Plan, which calls for expanding project eligibility.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia.