HRSD Invited to Apply for Low-Cost EPA Loan to Finance SWIFT, Ultimately Saving Ratepayers $243 Million
VIRGINIA BEACH – HRSD has received an invitation to apply for a $930 million loan through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program (WIFIA), which provides long-term low-cost financing for water infrastructure projects. HRSD was invited to apply based on HRSD’s Letter of Intent submitted in June 2019. These funds will be used for full-scale implementation of SWIFT (Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow), adding advanced water treatment facilities and aquifer recharge wells to five existing HRSD facilities throughout Hampton Roads by 2032. The loan is estimated to save HRSD ratepayers more than $243 million in financing costs over the life of the SWIFT initiative.
HRSD’s $930 million loan will be the largest WIFIA loan in the five-year history of the program. HRSD has been recognized as an innovative leader in the wastewater sector, advancing science and technology through applied research focused on reducing cost and increasing effectiveness of water treatment.
“We are grateful for this opportunity to access WIFIA financing. HRSD is facing so many unfunded regulatory mandates, it is wonderful to receive some Federal financing to supplement the investments our ratepayers are making in clean water and a sustainable future,” said Steve Rodriguez, Commissioner and Chair of the HRSD Commission’s Finance Committee. Federal investment in water infrastructure has shrunk from more than 60 percent in 1977 to less than 9 percent today.
About SWIFT: SWIFT is an innovative water treatment project designed to ensure a sustainable source of groundwater to meet current and future needs in the region. The project takes HRSD's already highly treated water that would otherwise be discharged into the Elizabeth, James or York rivers and puts it through additional rounds of advanced water treatment to produce drinking quality water. The SWIFT Water is then treated to match the existing groundwater chemistry and added to the Potomac Aquifer, the primary source of groundwater throughout eastern Virginia, ensuring a sustainable source of groundwater while addressing environmental challenges such as Chesapeake Bay restoration, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.
About HRSD: HRSD's mission is to protect public health and the waters of Hampton Roads by treating wastewater effectively. A political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, HRSD was created by public referendum in 1940 and currently serves 18 cities and counties in southeast Virginia, an area with a population of 1.7 million. HRSD is dedicated to a single vision: Future Generations will inherit clean waterways and be able to keep them clean.
Should you have any questions or comments, you may contact:
Jay Bernas, P.E., MBA
Director of Finance