The WIFIA loan supports essential improvements to DC’s water system
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced a $156 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water).
The announcement was made at an event with: Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, DC Water Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David L. Gadis, and other local officials.
According to EPA, the WIFIA loan will help finance water infrastructure improvements throughout D.C., which includes new water mains to improve drinking water quality.
DC Water’s Comprehensive Infrastructure Repair, Rehabilitation, and Replacement Program intends to advance infrastructure projects that will:
- Increase public health protection and benefit water quality in local rivers;
- Upgrade water mains and pumps to improve drinking water distribution for better public health protection;
- And protect the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers from sewage contamination by upgrading storm water management systems and collecting and treating wastewater at the Blue Plains Treatment Plant.
“EPA’s WIFIA program demonstrates that investments in water infrastructure—just like those called for under the American Jobs Plan—can help our nation build back stronger while supporting lower income communities and communities of color,” said Regan in the EPA press release. “DC Water’s improvement projects will revitalize water infrastructure in this historic city and EPA’s WIFIA loan will provide significant cost-savings—providing a win-win for local communities.”
The program also includes a combination of 20 drinking water and wastewater projects to address aging infrastructure throughout the system, reported EPA in the press release. The construction and operation of these projects are anticipated to create more than 1,000 jobs.
“Especially right now, it is critical that we are able to continue making progress on projects that improve our region’s infrastructure and help us build a more resilient city – and to be able to do so without creating a new financial burden for residents, especially those who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic,” said D.C. mayor Bowser in the press release. “We thank the Biden Administration and Administrator Regan for recognizing this need and for investing in our shared goal to build back better.”
DC Water’s program will cost $319 million and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that cost, saving DC Water an estimated $30 million, according to EPA. The savings can be passed on to customers through continued service improvements.