Under the programme more than 20 projects will be implemented across the service area of Hampton Roads Sanitation District


EPA offers loan for water project in Virginia. (Credit: Pixabay/Arek Socha.)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a loan of $225m for a water reuse project in Suffolk, Virginia.

Announced by the EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan will be provided to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD).

It is the first loan provided under an agreement to commit $1.05bn in WIFIA assistance to help finance one of the major water reuse programmes on the east coast of the US.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said: “EPA has helped finance $14.5 billion in water infrastructure through the WIFIA loan program to better protect public health and support projects including those that enhance water reuse.

“By supporting projects in Virginia through the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) Program, new infrastructure can be built to protect groundwater and save ratepayers money.”

The SWIFT programme is aimed at replenishing the Potomac Aquifer, which was overdrawn and to restore its water supply, with new water reuse and advanced water treatment technologies.

Under the programme, more than 20 projects will be implemented across the service area to upgrade existing treatment works, bringing advanced water treatment facilities and multiple wells to add drinking water quality SWIFT Water to the stressed Potomac Aquifer.

The programme is also expected to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay by reducing surface water discharges by approximately 100 million gallons per day 90% of HRSD’s discharge to the Bay watershed.

Total cost of the water reuse project is $460m

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $460m and EPA’s loan will finance nearly half of that amount.

In July, Virginia’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund programme closed a loan with HRSD to finance $100m of the SWIFT programme and the remaining project funds will come from revenue bonds.

The project construction and operations are expected to create 1,400 jobs.

HRSD Commissioner and Former Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Joseph Ward said: “Realizing HRSD’s vision that future generations will inherit clean waterways and be able to keep them clean requires significant investment today in clean water infrastructure.

“HRSD has spent $1.64 billion over the past decade and will invest another $8.47 billion over the next two decades in clean water infrastructure. Clean water is expensive and can only be achieved and maintained through effective partnerships with citizens, non-profits, and government at all levels.

“Providing low cost loans through the WIFIA program is the federal government’s contribution to clean water in Hampton Roads and we are pleased to be able to partner with them to save Hampton Roads’ ratepayers almost three percent of the total projected investment over the next two decades.”