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EPA selects San Francisco biosolids digester facility to apply for $625 million loan

The US Environmental Protection Agency has invited the San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) to apply for a $625 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan.

SFPUC’s project focuses on wastewater treatment system upgrades. San Francisco’s 60-year-old solids treatment facility will be replaced with upgraded infrastructure that will produce higher-quality biosolids and maximise biogas utilisation and energy recovery. The project will also capture and treat odours more effectively.

“With the help of the federal government’s low-cost loan program, we’re going to upgrade our City’s sewer infrastructure while realising significant savings for ratepayers,” said Harlan L. Kelly Jr., General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “The rebuild of our biosolids digesters will help modernise our sewer system and provide us with an opportunity to create good, high quality jobs in the parts of the City that need them the most.”

The EPA received 43 letters of interest from public and private entities in response to its 2017 WIFIA notice of funding availability. After a review process, the WIFIA selection committee chose 12 prospective projects to submit applications for loans, including SFPUC’s.

$2.3 billion is the total amount of funding available to public and private entities in the 2017 selection round. In total, WIFIA will support $5.1 billion in water infrastructure development around the US, impacting 20 million people in nine states.

“Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is a critical pillar of the President’s agenda,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These large-scale projects will improve water quality for 20 million Americans, especially those communities that need it the most – such as rural and urban communities.”

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