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Nationally, 62 WIFIA loans are financing over $25 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, creating 71,000 jobs

WASHINGTON (Nov. 3, 2021) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $20 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Evanston, Illinois to upgrade aging infrastructure that brings water from Lake Michigan to the city’s drinking water treatment plant. This project, supported by EPA’s WIFIA loan, will help provide safe drinking water from a more climate-resilient system to the residents of ten Chicago-area suburbs.

“In Evanston, water infrastructure funding from EPA’s WIFIA program and the State Revolving Fund is poised to upgrade drinking water infrastructure that is a century-old,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Across the country, we must invest in our aging and failing water infrastructure. Today’s announcement exemplifies benefits that would come under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.” 

The 1909 Raw Drinking Water Intake Replacement Project will replace the oldest of Evanston’s three raw water intakes in Lake Michigan. By replacing the 110-year-old intake with modern infrastructure, the city will ensure sufficient drinking water quantity and quality for decades to come. The new water intake will be buried under the lakebed so that it is protected from impacts of lake currents and is sized to account for fluctuating lake levels, making the system more resilient to the impacts of climate change on Lake Michigan.

“Modernizing our aging water infrastructure is critical to ensuring that the City of Evanston and our more than 400,000 water customers enjoy continued access to safe, reliable, high-quality drinking water amid the ongoing climate crisis,” said Mayor Daniel Biss. “I’m grateful to our federal and state partners for their collaboration and support for this historic infrastructure improvement project.”

The $20 million WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of the $41 million project costs. The City is working to secure funding for the remaining project costs from an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency State Revolving Fund loan. The City of Evanston will save nearly $5 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 130 jobs and construction is expected to be completed in 2024.

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 62 WIFIA loans that are providing $11.7 billion in credit assistance to help finance approximately over $25 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 71,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $4.5 billion.

For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia

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