Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2022 announcement of funding availability through the agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA (SWIFIA). The funding will provide low-cost loans to support water and wastewater infrastructure and systems.
By virtue of being out of sight, and as a result, too often out of mind, water and wastewater systems are historically at risk of being overlooked until they become an emergency. As SediVision and US Submergent Technologies founder and CEO Denver Stutler, says, “Potholes in the road get attention. But no one thinks about wastewater systems until the system fails.”
Below is the EPA announcement from June 12, 2022, republished in its entirety.
EPA Announces $6.5 Billion in New Funding Available for Water Infrastructure Projects
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the 2022 notices of funding availability for the agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. This year’s funding will provide up to $6.5 billion in total funding to support $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs.
“Water infrastructure provides the foundation for healthy and vibrant communities by delivering safe drinking water and returning our treated wastewater to the environment,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “In too many communities, these essential pipes and pumps are decades old and need to be upgraded. That’s why EPA is providing $6.5 billion in low-cost financing through WIFIA and SWIFIA that can help revitalize our water systems while creating good paying jobs and delivering significant economic benefits, especially in underserved and overburdened communities.”
The notices of funding availability include $5.5 billion for the WIFIA program and an additional $1 billion for the SWIFIA program. This round of funding will prioritize funding in four areas:
- Increasing investment in economically stressed communities.
- Making rapid progress on lead service line replacement.
- Addressing PFAS and emerging contaminants.
- Supporting one water innovation and resilience.
By prioritizing investment in underserved communities, EPA is considering prospective WIFIA borrowers consistent with the goals of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative. This initiative intends to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments, including water and wastewater infrastructure, to underserved communities.
To make WIFIA funding more adaptive to ongoing community needs, EPA is changing the way it accepts letters of interest from prospective borrowers. Letters of interest may be submitted by prospective borrowers and received by EPA at any time on or after September 6, 2022. The submission period will close when all available funds are committed to prospective borrowers. A rolling selection process allows EPA to provide year-round access to WIFIA funding, quicker selection decisions to prospective borrowers, and technical assistance to prospective borrowers. Since letters of interest will be evaluated when they are received, EPA encourages submissions at the beginning of the availability period.
EPA’s WIFIA loan program is delivering the benefits of water infrastructure improvements nationwide. To date, EPA has closed 88 WIFIA loans that are providing over $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $33 billion for water infrastructure while creating nearly 100,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
For more information about WIFIA and this funding announcement, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.
WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including:
- Drinking water treatment and distribution projects.
- Wastewater conveyance and treatment projects.
- Nonpoint source pollution management program.
- Management, reduction, treatment, or recapture of stormwater.
- National estuary program projects.
- Enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities.
- Desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling projects.
- Drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects.
To learn more, go to:
“What is WIFIA?” www.epa.gov/wifia/what-wifia
Or, “What is SWIFIA?” www.epa.gov/wifia/what-swifia