Feb 11, 2019

EPA Accelerates Water Infrastructure Investment

Under President Trump’s Infrastructure Initiative, the agency plans to increase funding for water infrastructure projects

EPA increases investment in aging drinking water infrastructure
EPA increases investment in aging drinking water infrastructure

The U.S. EPA announced it is accelerating investment in the nation’s aging water infrastructure in support of President Donald J. Trump’s Infrastructure Initiative. 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by working to get the financing, tools and resources EPA’s state, local, tribal and other partners need to modernize outdated water infrastructure while improving local water quality, creating jobs and better protecting public health, according to an EPA press release.

“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 $4 billion 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.”

The agency touts the success of the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to replace  and upgrade aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through low-interest loans. In 2018, the SRFs committed $9.6 billion in drinking water and clean water infrastructure loans and refinancing and disbursed $8.8 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure.

In the mid-Atlantic Region, EPA completed its largest SRF project to date to upgrade the sludge handling facility for the city of Reading, Pa., wastewater treatment plant. Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority financed this CWSRF project for $149 million at 1% interest for 20 years, which produced a calculated subsidy value of more than $21 million.

Reading’s existing trickling filter plant is being upgraded to an extended aeration activated sludge plant that will use energy efficient variable speed motors and linear Motion Mixers in the digesters that use 70% less power than conventional mixers. This project will replace the previously overloaded system and will improve the water quality for the Schuylkill River and the Delaware Estuary, which are both important culturally, economically and recreationally for the distressed area.

More information on President Trump’s Infrastructure Initiative can be found here.