In April, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Ragan revealed plans to invest $300 million in water infrastructure upgrades. Specifically, the loans will help support projects in Washington, D.C., Louisville, Kentucky, and the Florida Keys.
Part of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act — which is providing more than $9.3 billion in credit assistance to help fund nearly $20 billion in water infrastructure projects — these three projects are expected to create more than 1,900 jobs.
Three Water Infrastructure Projects Expected to Create Positive Changes
The EPA has granted a $156 million WIFIA loan to the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, which will fund critical water infrastructure improvements throughout Washington, D.C. The projects will boost public health protection and drinking water quality to residents served by DC Water.
Awarded a $97 million WIFIA loan, the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District will work to update Kentucky’s largest and oldest water quality treatment center. This project will enhance wastewater infrastructure that offers the double benefit of helping local communities, while saving money.
Lastly, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority in Key West, Florida has been awarded a $49 million WIFIA loan. The funding will assist infrastructure upgrades that will boost the climate resiliency of the Florida Keys’ drinking water system.
A federal credit program administered by the EPA, WIFIA provides funding for eligible water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Those eligible to borrow include local, state, tribal, and federal government entities; partnerships and joint ventures; corporations and trusts; and Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs.
Projects must meet eligibility requirements for approval. Some of these include enhanced energy efficiency projects and drinking water and wastewater facilities; drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects; and the acquisition of property integral to a project or that will hinder the impact of a project.
WIFIA loans can fund a maximum 49% of a project, while total federal assistance cannot surpass 80% of a project’s eligible costs. Loans are attached to an interest rate equal or greater than the U.S. Treasury rate of a similar maturity at the date of closing. Small communities can take out a minimum $5 million WIFIA loan, rising to a minimum of $20 million for large communities.
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