EPA WIFIA loan will improve local wastewater infrastructure, create jobs, and better protect Deer Creek
Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $47.7M Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District in Missouri to help finance its Deer Creek Sanitary Tunnel and Sanitary Relief project.
“This WIFIA loan will help finance construction of much-needed wastewater infrastructure that will improve public health protections and water quality for residents of the St. Louis community,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Through WIFIA, EPA is delivering on President Trump’s commitment to improve our nation’s infrastructure, create well-paying jobs, and ensure all Americans have access to clean drinking water.”
With EPA’s WIFIA loan, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District will construct a new pump station and replace or rehabilitate over three miles of sanitary sewers. This upgrade will help alleviate wastewater overflow and reduce basement backups for the 1.4 million residents served by Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District and improve water quality in Deer Creek.
“Funding from the WIFIA program is recognition that our projects are significant to the health and welfare of the St. Louis region," said Brian Hoelscher, Executive Director, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. "The elimination of sanitary sewer overflows that will be realized with the completion of the projects funded by the loan will provide direct environmental benefits to our customers at a lower cost than would be achieved with traditional debt financing.”
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s Deer Creek Sanitary Tunnel and Sanitary Relief project is estimated to cost $97M. EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance nearly half that amount—up to $47.7M. Because the WIFIA program offers loans with low interest rates, the Sewer District is expected to save up to an estimated $15M compared to typical bond issuance. Project construction and operations are expected to create 70 jobs, with construction beginning in 2019 and a target completion date in late 2023.
“Not only will the Deer Creek Sanitary Tunnel and Sanitary Relief project improve local water quality, it will also ensure the community is more resilient against periods of increased rainfall,” said Jim Gulliford, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Midwest. “Good water quality and wastewater management is vital to our health, communities, and economy. Through the WIFIA loan program, EPA works to accelerate investment in our nation's water infrastructure.”
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, EPA has issued six loans totaling over $1.5B in WIFIA credit assistance. Combined, these six projects will help finance over $3.5B in water infrastructure investments and create over 6,000 jobs. EPA has invited an additional 45 projects in 18 states and DC to apply for a WIFIA loan. These 45 borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5.8B to help finance nearly $12B in water infrastructure investments and create up to 183,000 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.