The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and EPA Southeast Regional Administrator Mary Walker recently announced a $265 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to DeKalb County, Georgia, for upgrades to its aging wastewater collection and treatment system.
DeKalb County will use the EPA’s WIFIA loan to assess and rehabilitate the highest priority areas of its sewer system infrastructure. Upgrades will include sewer replacement, trunk sewer upsizing, full or partial length sewer lining, and related activities at various locations within the county. The project will help eliminate sanitary sewer overflows and improving water quality in the South River Watershed to better protect public health and the environment in the county.
“EPA is acting on its commitment to infrastructure investment by providing critical support to fund investments in Dekalb County’s future,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “These upgrades are key to improving public health and environmental protections, while delivering good paying jobs and building stronger economies.”
“With the award of this loan and the continued collaboration with the EPA, DeKalb County is positioned to construct a state-of-the-art sanitary sewer system,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. “Replacing this aged and previously neglected system will provide better service and continue to restore the trust of DeKalb County residents and ratepayers.”
The infrastructure revitalization project will cost an estimated $541 million and EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure. The remaining project costs will be funded by a combination of a Georgia Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan and revenue bonds. EPA estimates that the WIFIA loan will save DeKalb County an estimated $65 million and that construction and operation are expected to create approximately 1,800 jobs. WIFIA is providing financial support at a critical time as the federal government, EPA, and the water sector work together to help mitigate the public health and financial impacts of COVID-19. Since March 2020, WIFIA has announced nineteen loans and updated five existing loans with lower interest rates, saving ratepayers over $1.2 billion.
 WaterWorld (2020, October 28). EPA announces $265M water infrastructure loan to DeKalb County, GA. WaterWorld. https://www.waterworld.com/drinking-water/infrastructure-funding/press-release/14186299/epa-announces-265million-water-infrastructure-loan-to-dekalb-county-ga
Photo Credit: Dekalb County