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U.S. EPA Prioritizes Water Recycling Projects in Water Infrastructure Funding

Date: July 21, 2020

The U.S. EPA re-committed to prioritizing water reuse and recycling projects in the fourth round of Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funding. The notice of funding availability announces up to $6 billion to support a total investment of $12 billion in water infrastructure projects that will create more than 35,000 jobs and identifies water recycling as a priority area for funding.

WateReuse commends the EPA for its continued commitment to water reuse in the WIFIA program. WIFIA has funded major water recycling projects across the country, including many projects led by WateReuse members. 

To date, EPA has issued 24 WIFIA loans totaling $5.3 billion in credit assistance to help finance $11.7 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating 25,000 jobs—including eight WIFIA loans closed and one refinanced from March 2020 through June 2020. These recent loan closings will save ratepayers over $1 billion compared to typical bond financing while supporting the financial health of vital water systems.

This announcement marks the fourth round of WIFIA funding. This year’s notice of funding availability prioritizes construction-ready projects in three areas: updating aging infrastructure; reducing exposure to lead and addressing emerging contaminants; and water reuse and recycling. The 2020 notice of funding availability builds upon the existing, active pipeline of WIFIA projects, which includes 49 projects in 19 states and D.C. For the first time, the agency will evaluate submitted projects using additional criteria that were developed to help clarify project and federal budgetary considerations. EPA will accept letters of interest from prospective WIFIA borrowers for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

EPA is also, for the first time, providing funds under SWIFIA. This new program, which was authorized by Congress as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, offers low-interest loans to state water infrastructure programs (e.g., the State Revolving Funds) that then help finance needed water infrastructure projects in local communities. This round of funding will provide SWIFIA borrowers up to $1 billion to support $2 billion in water infrastructure projects. EPA will accept letters of interest from state water infrastructure programs for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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