King County, Wash. to upgrade wastewater infrastructure with $194 million WIFIA loan

(UI) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott announced a $194 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan to King County in Washington. 

This loan is the first installment of funding available to King County under a new master agreement, where EPA will provide almost $500 million in low-interest funding for future water infrastructure projects. 

EPA’s loan will support critical wastewater infrastructure updates to make the system more reliable and continue to protect Puget Sound.

Since its creation, EPA’s WIFIA program has announced over $20 billion in financing to support over $43 billion in water infrastructure projects that are strengthening drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure while creating over 140,000 jobs.

“EPA’s WIFIA loans have a track record of success and nowhere is that clearer than here in King County, where two loans have already reduced the amounts of sewage and untreated stormwater entering local waterways,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott.  

King County has already used WIFIA resources twice before to improve stormwater treatment with the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station and to build an underground storage tunnel for the Ship Canal Water Quality Project with Seattle Public Utilities. 

The majority of the latest WIFIA loan will go toward various clean-water investments at West Point Treatment Plant, which cleans wastewater and stormwater. This project makes several improvements at the wastewater treatment plant, including removing corroded pipes, upgrading raw sewage pumps, and implementing structural upgrades to the administrative building to protect against future seismic events.

King County was EPA’s first WIFIA borrower, closing their first loan in 2018, and this will be their third WIFIA loan. With this $194 million loan, King County expects to save nearly $20 million and create about 1,500 jobs.

It is the first WIFIA loan under a master agreement that will commit $498 million to accelerate the implementation of the county’s Wastewater 2024 Improvement Project. Future financing will support other critical projects across the regional wastewater system.

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

In 2018, King County was the first loan recipient under the federal act, when the EPA issued a $134.5 million loan to help construct the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station. In 2021, King County closed on a $96.8 million loan to help design and construct the Ship Canal Water Quality Project, which is a partnership with Seattle Public Utilities.


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