Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department receives third WIFIA Loan from Environmental Protection Agency
The $235 million low-interest loan will upgrade the wastewater treatment plants/collection system and benefit the environment
The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) has just received its third consecutive Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As the only government agency in the nation to receive a third allocation since the program’s inception, WASD will use the $235 million to fund nearly half of a $480 million upgrade to the department’s three wastewater treatment plants and its collection system.
These upgrades, which are a part of the largest Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in County history, will add system-wide capacity flexibility and assist the department in fulfilling state and federal requirements, while also hardening the infrastructure at the wastewater treatment plants so they are more robust, resilient facilities that allow for continuous operation during severe weather events. This is particularly important as all three treatment facilities are located on the coast and vulnerable to storm surge flooding.
While South Florida was spared from the worst of Hurricane Isaias this past week, that storm is a grim reminder that at some point our community will be impacted by tropical storms and hurricanes in the future.
“As the largest water and sewer utility in the southeastern United States, serving more than 2.3 million people every day, it is vital that the system is resilient and has the flexibility to continuously serve the community even during severe weather events,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “The upgrades that result from Miami-Dade County’s third consecutive partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency not only bring increased service reliability to our community, but also help improve our environment.”
WASD Director Kevin Lynskey said there are additional benefits associated with WIFIA funded projects.
“Being awarded a third consecutive WIFIA low-interest loan is extremely gratifying because we are able to not only able accelerate upgrades that will result in system-wide improvements, but also provide much needed employment opportunities, while saving our rate-payers more than $80 million during the course of the loan,” Lynskey said.
This current project will create 173 local jobs.
To date, WASD’s three loans combined have totaled $660 million and will finance approximately $1.3 billion worth of projects with the department’s multi-billion-dollar CIP, create 500 jobs and save ratepayers $210 million in interest loans for the life of these loans when compared to other financing options.
“Today, we commemorate the third low-interest WIFIA loan to Miami-Dade County – providing a total of $660 million to finance projects costing over $1.3 billion – in less than two years,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “President Trump’s EPA is collaborating with local partners to tackle the most pressing water challenges, while at the same time saving rate-payers $200 million and creating more than 500 jobs. The benefits to Miami-Dade County include reducing excess nutrients, improving the water quality in Biscayne Bay, and supporting the County’s efforts to promote water reuse.”
Miami-Dade County continues to look for innovative ways to implement new technologies as part of its CIP projects, but the County is just as committed to employing inventive financing opportunities as well. This allows Miami-Dade County to be a responsible steward of not only our natural resources, but also our customers’ financial investments.
It is the priority of the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department to provide safe, reliable service to its customers. For additional information about Department services and programs, visit the department’s website.