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Funds Received for CA Wastewater Facility

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency awarded the City of Morro Bay, California, approximately $62 million for the replacement of its 63-year-old wastewater treatment plant.

The low-interest loan is received through the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and is the first in the nation to be given to a small community.

About the Project

According to The Tribune, Morrow Bay has been working with the EPA since 2017, when it became one of 12 cities invited to apply for the WIFIA loan. In total, the EPA was offering $5.5 billion for the available loans and had looked at 43 municipalities prior to narrowing it down to 12 eligible cities.

At the time, the city applied for $82 million, which was expected to help reduce ratepayer costs and the lower the amount needed from the State Revolving Fund or other resources.

Bim / Getty Images

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency awarded the City of Morro Bay, California, approximately $62 million for the replacement of its 63-year old wastewater treatment plant.

The EPA reports that the WIFIA loan—established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014—aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term and low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.

To date, the EPA has issued 17 similar loans totaling more than $3.7 billion to help finance more than $8.4 billion in water infrastructure projects. The loan program has also helped to create more than 16,000 jobs. Additionally, on Feb. 27, the EPA and its partners announced the National Water Reuse Action Plan which will also aim to improve sustainability, security and resilience in water resources.

After applying for the loan, in 2018, Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-California) announced his support for the Morrow Bay’s proposed water reclamation facility project. Not only was the announcement critical to the project’s completion but was also reported to have a positive impact on the EPA’s loan approval process.

"In Congress, I was proud to help advocate for this Morro Bay water federal funding and I am thrilled that our community is receiving this EPA loan to improve our wastewater infrastructure," said Carbajal.

"The importance of a sustainable water source in Morro Bay cannot be overstated—with these funds, we will be able to modernize our wastewater treatment, better prepare for the impacts of flooding, become more resilient and improve the lives of Central Coast residents."

Of the $62 million received, approximately 55% is expected to go towards the water system portion of the project, while 45% will go towards the wastewater portion. The loan alone is also expected to cover 49% of the $126 million total project costs and will save ratepayers up to $29 million over the life of the project.

“Securing this low-interest federal funding is a sound financial decision for the City,” said Mayor John Headding. “Signing the agreements now means that we will lock in near-historic low interest rates and ensure maximum benefit for our rate payers.”

To cover the remaining cost of the project, the city has also received $64 million through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Fund, provided by the California State Water Resources Control Board.

What’s Happening Now

Construction on the project is slated to break ground as early as spring and will involve the construction of a 1 million-gallon-per-day advanced treatment facility.

The project will also involve the construction of two lift stations, a 3.5-mile pipeline alignment and various wells where purified water will be injected into a groundwater aquifer and can be extracted for reuse through the city’s existing infrastructure.

The new infrastructure is expected to help supplement the city’s water supply, reduce reliance on imported water and improve groundwater quality with the addition of highly treated water, according to the EPA.

Moving the facility inland is also expected to increase resiliency and reduce the risk of flooding.

The project is slated to be completed by 2023 and is expected to create 403 jobs.

   

Tagged categories: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA; Funding; NA; non-potable water; North America; potable water; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Upcoming projects; Wastewater Plants

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