As highlighted in President Trump's State of the Union address and in support of the President's Infrastructure Initiative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accelerated investment in the nation's aging water infrastructure.
"EPA is delivering on President Trump's promise to jump-start critical infrastructure projects that will not only enhance environmental protections but also grow the economy," said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "Under President Trump, EPA has issued seven WIFIA loans to help finance over $4B in water infrastructure projects that will improve water quality and create up to 6,000 jobs. By clearly defining where federal jurisdiction begins and ends, our new proposed Waters of the U.S. definition will provide states and the private sector the regulatory certainty they need to develop and streamline projects that will modernize our nation's aging infrastructure."
"Clean water is imperative to community health and prosperity across New England, and EPA is committed to working with states and municipalities across the region to find solutions to their water infrastructure challenges," said EPA New England acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro.
Over the past year, EPA has moved President Trump's infrastructure agenda forward by working to get the financing, tools and resources EPA's state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure, while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health.
EPA has also taken a leading role in the administration's initiative to promote greater efficiencies in the infrastructure permitting process. These actions include working to provide a clear and predictable approach to identifying waters that are subject to federal authority through the Department of the Army's and EPA's proposed "Waters of the United States" rulemaking, implementation of the administration's One Federal Decision initiative and through other improvements to the Clean Water Act permitting process. EPA will take these actions by cooperatively working with its state and tribal co-regulators with a goal of streamlining environmental permitting and increasing investments in critical water and other infrastructure projects.
Together with the agency's state, local, tribal, and other partners, EPA has achieved the following local water infrastructure accomplishments in 2018 in support of the President's Infrastructure Initiative:
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program is EPA's newest water financing program, which provides long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. In 2018, EPA issued seven WIFIA loans totaling nearly $2B to help finance over $4B for water infrastructure projects and create up to 6,000 jobs. In November 2018, EPA invited 39 additional projects in 16 states and Washington, D.C. to apply for a WIFIA loan. Together, these 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.
In November 2018, EPA invited the Narragansett Bay Commission in Providence, R.I., to apply for a $251M WIFIA loan to make infrastructure improvements to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs). This project is expected to be co-funded through the state's Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, administered by the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The loan will further the Narragansett Bay Commission's work to design and construct a storage tunnel and associated infrastructure to provide a storage volume of 58.6M gallons, which will help reduce CSOs.
State Revolving Funds
The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) play an integral role in EPA's efforts to help communities replace or upgrade aging or inadequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through low-interest loans. Together, in 2018, the SRFs committed $9.6B in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $8.8B for drinking water and clean water infrastructure. This level of funding was facilitated through EPA's contribution of $2.2B to the state revolving funds in 2018.
In 2018, EPA awarded more than $200M in SRF grants to the six New England states for the purpose of providing low-interest and subsidized loans to finance community-based water infrastructure projects, such as upgrades to municipal sewage plants and public drinking water systems. At the local level, these loans are helping to fix leaking pipes and older infrastructure, protect sources of drinking water supply and build water storage tanks. The SRF loan provides funds to the communities allowing cities to construct wastewater facilities and systems, control "nonpoint" sources of water pollution, create green infrastructure projects and protect estuaries.
For more information on the President's Infrastructure Initiative, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/building-stronger-america-president-donald-j-trumps-american-infrastructure-initiative/ .
For more information about EPA's WIFIA program, visit https://www.epa.gov/wifia
For more information on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, visit https://www.epa.gov/cwsrf
For more information on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, visit https://www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf