Nationally, 74 WIFIA loans are financing over $28 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating over 82,000 jobs
April 6, 2022
WASHINGTON (Apr 6, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $120 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency to implement its Regional Wastewater System Improvements Program. Through this WIFIA loan, EPA is supporting high-quality recycled water and access to reliable, long-term wastewater treatment for western San Bernadino County, California.
“I want to congratulate the Inland Empire Utilities Agency for developing a water reuse program to meet current and future needs while utilizing EPA’s low-interest and flexible WIFIA loan to reduce costs,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Investing in water infrastructure is a win-win for public health, the environment, and job creation and we look forward to bringing these benefits to communities across through country through WIFIA and investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
The Regional Wastewater System Improvements Program will upgrade four wastewater treatment facilities to help to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the drought-prone service area by ensuring reliable access to wastewater treatment and recycled water and reducing reliance on imported water supplies. Additionally, these improvements will ensure Inland Empire Utilities Agency continues to maintain compliance with statewide standards for recycled water production.
“The Inland Empire Utilities Agency’s project will improve critical water infrastructure, help fight drought and reduce climate change impacts in San Bernardino County,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Through WIFIA, EPA is delivering on its commitment to modernize the nation’s water infrastructure to improve public health and environmental protection while supporting local economies.”
“In the face of climate change and increased droughts, we have to be smarter in the way we manage scarce water resources,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Water recycling is one of the key ways we can use our water more efficiently. The Biden administration is wisely investing in this water recycling plant and related infrastructure that will benefit the Inland Empire for decades.”
“I’m thrilled to see these much-needed federal funds coming to the Inland Empire,” said U.S. Representative Norma Torres. “The EPA’s WIFIA loan will support our community with hundreds of jobs, and the infrastructure upgrades will improve access to high-quality water while reducing demand for water from outside our region – which as we all know is a critical issue here in Southern California. I’m proud the EPA recognizes the value of investing in the Inland Empire, and I look forward to working together with them and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency as this project moves forward.”
Construction will include a new solids treatment facility, offsite pump stations and force mains, increased stream capacity, and replacement of the existing conveyance pipelines, headworks, odor control systems, and aeration blowers. These improvements are necessary to treat water flows that are already at higher capacity and higher strength because of population growth and water conservation efforts.
“Given the State’s dire water supply conditions, the time is now to take necessary action and continue to grow and implement investments in water-saving infrastructure. The partnership between IEUA and EPA is critical to providing long-term resource solutions for the region now and into the future,” said IEUA Board President Steve Elie. “The IEUA Regional Wastewater System Improvements Program will expand capacity to help leverage additional water supplies and infrastructure to ensure continued reliable wastewater services and support continued growth in western San Bernardino County. IEUA and the EPA have had a long-standing partnership and we look forward to our continued collaboration while being a part of the solution for California’s water needs.”
Inland Empire Utilities Agency will save approximately $27 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 780 jobs, and construction is expected to be completed in 2026.
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 74 WIFIA loans that are providing over $13 billion in credit assistance to help finance approximately nearly $29 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 82,000 jobs and saving ratepayers nearly $5 billion.
The WIFIA program will prioritize projects that help achieve the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: WIFIA.