SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – In a big step forward in one of the first major water reuse programs on the east coast, the EPA announced a $225 million water infrastructure loan on Tuesday to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District.
EPA Adminstrator Andrew Wheeler says the multi-million dollar Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan is the first in a bigger billion dollar project.
“This is an incredible program, it cleans up the environment it creates jobs and it provides low cost financing to communities so it will save money over time,” said Wheeler.
The $225 million loan announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler will be used to help finance a new water reuse program on the east coast.
The program through SWIFT, also known as the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow, will use innovative water reuse and advanced water treatment technologies to replenish the Potomac Aquifer water supply.
“It will help clean up the water, get it into the Chesapeake aquifer to stop the subsidence and the drain on the aquifer itself, and it will help in reducing pollution runoff that goes into the Chesapeake bay,” said Wheeler.
The new loan will also provide 1,400 new jobs.
“There are about 20 projects under this first part and putting wells in to inject clean water deep into the aquifer to help replenish the aquifer, which will help keep the aquifer healthy and stop the subsidence that is occurring,” he added.
US EPA Administrator Wheeler said this will save money in the long run.
“This is the first step of a long-term project here and this one loan will save the ratepayers 71 million dollars in financing. If they were to go to a typical finance bank or bond, we’re saving them 71 million in financing cost,” he said.
This project phase will cost $460 million, and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that. In addition to Virginia’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund’s $100 million loan, the remaining project funds will come from revenue bonds.
For more information about the WIFIA program, visit www.epa.gov/wifia.
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