EPA Announces $441 Million WIFIA Loan to Modernize Wastewater Infrastructure in Los Angeles County, California


Nationally, 81 WIFIA loans are financing over $31 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 93,000 jobs

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $441 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Sanitation Districts) to support the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant Effluent Outfall Tunnel Project (“Clearwater Project”). With this WIFIA loan, EPA is helping modernize infrastructure while creating local jobs in Los Angeles County. 

“Too many communities across the country rely on outdated and inefficient water infrastructure that puts public health and environmental protection at risk,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. “This WIFIA investment in LA County will help ensure wastewater infrastructure reliably serves 5 million customers while protecting nearby waters. EPA is excited to bring water infrastructure upgrades to more communities with $50 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“Every family deserves access to clean drinking water and a healthy environment,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38). “Unfortunately, the tunnels that our community’s main sewer system relies on to prevent wastewater from flooding our waterways are nearly a century old and at-risk of failure during severe storms and earthquakes. This funding will be used to replace our aging infrastructure, preventing contamination of our drinking water while creating good-paying jobs right here in our region. I thank the EPA for this critical investment, and I will continue working with the Biden Administration and local agencies to keep our communities safe, resilient, and healthy.”

The Clearwater Project will protect local waterways and public health by addressing problems with aging wastewater infrastructure. The two existing tunnels that carry effluent from the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (the Sanitation Districts’ largest wastewater treatment plant) are beyond their useful life and do not meet current seismic standards. If they fail, the treatment plant might need to discharge sewage into surrounding waterways. This project will combine the two aging outfall tunnels into one new 18-foot diameter, 7-mile-long tunnel designed to current seismic standards. It will have sufficient capacity for the high flows experienced during major storms. By completing this project, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts will ensure reliability for a sewerage system that 5 million people in Los Angeles County depend upon. 

“The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts are very appreciative of the WIFIA Loan received from the EPA,” said Robert Ferrante, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Sanitation Districts. “This loan will help us build infrastructure that is critical for the region and minimize the financial impact on our ratepayers.”

The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts will save approximately $76 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Construction is expected to be completed in 2027. Construction and operation are expected to create approximately 2,880 local jobs.

Learn more about the WIFIA Program.

Background  

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. WIFIA’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.   

The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 81 WIFIA loans that are providing over $14 billion in credit assistance to help finance over $31 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 93,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion. 

More information about the WIFIA program’s accomplishments through 2021.

More information about the Clearwater Project.

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