News | February 3, 2023

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $340M For Water Infrastructure And Lead Pipe Replacement Projects In Philadelphia

EPA WIFIA loans are financing $36B in infrastructure upgrades, ensuring clean, safe water and creating 122,000 jobs

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $340M financing commitment to upgrade the City of Philadelphia’s aging drinking water infrastructure, including replacing customers’ lead service lines. This Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan will jumpstart the work to modernize the drinking water system with an initial investment of nearly $20M.

“At EPA, we’re committed to ensuring access to clean, safe water for all. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investment in water infrastructure upgrades, we’re delivering on that commitment for communities across this nation,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With the funds announced today, the City of Philadelphia will be able to upgrade its aging system for the 1.6 million people that depend on it, ensuring no one has to worry about access to safe, affordable drinking water.”

The announcement was made by President Biden, Vice President Harris and Administrator Regan at an event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to highlight the progress we have made and the Administration’s work implementing the Biden-Harris economic and environmental agenda that continues to deliver results for the American people.

Portions of the City of Philadelphia’s drinking water systems are approaching the end of their useful life and need significant upgrades to continue to deliver clean and safe water to the residents of Philadelphia. With this announcement, EPA is committing over $340M in WIFIA financing to the city. The initial loan of $19.8M will modernize critical drinking water infrastructure by replacing approximately 160 lead service lines and 15 miles of watermains throughout the city.

“This commitment will provide an immense boost to Philadelphia’s ongoing efforts to ramp up water main replacement and help sustain our recently launched 25-year, multibillion-dollar Water Revitalization Plan, investments that will result in direct health and safety benefits for all Philadelphians,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman. “Replacing miles of water mains in these neighborhoods will also strengthen our campaign to replace customers’ lead service lines as we renew and improve the City’s infrastructure. This represents the biggest investment in drinking water infrastructure in a generation, and we would not be able to do this work without this level of federal investment.”

The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to revitalizing the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure to ensure every community has access to clean, safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. In addition to WIFIA loans and other federally funded programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a historic $50B investment in water infrastructure and allocates $15B specifically for lead service line replacement and removal. To date, more than $4.7B of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been invested through the State Revolving Funds to support states, Tribes and territories in improving water infrastructure.

By financing this first project with a WIFIA loan, EPA estimates the City of Philadelphia will save approximately $4M. Construction and operation under this first loan are estimated to create approximately 100 jobs.

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The WIFIA program’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 projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With this loan closing, EPA’s WIFIA program has announced 97 loans that are providing $17B in credit assistance to help finance $36B for water infrastructure while creating 122,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5B.

EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for WIFIA and SWIFIA loans. In June, EPA announced the availability of $5.5B under the 2022 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1B under the SWIFIA program. Together, this newly available funding will support more than $13B in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs.

Source: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)