California City Earns Million-Dollar Clean Water Program EPA Loan Approval

Oct. 23, 2020

San Mateo, California was approved in its application for a $277 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan from the U.S. EPA

The City of San Mateo, California, in partnership with Foster City, has earned in its application for a $277 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan from the U.S. EPA to support the Clean Water Program.

The Clean Water Program assists repairs, replacements, and upgrades to aging sewage conveyance and wastewater treatment infrastructure. This serves approximately 170,000 residents in: San Mateo, Foster City, Crystal Springs County Sanitation District, and portions of Hillsborough, Belmont, and San Mateo County, reported the city. 

The program also aims to meet goals including: replacing the aging pipes and facilities that have reached or are nearing their lifespan; to meet current and future regulatory requirements; providing clean and safe drinking water, including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants; and addressing aging infrastructure.

The infrastructure improvement program will also protect San Mateo from damage associated with heavy rainstorms.  The rainstorms could potentially contaminate San Mateo's streets, creeks, lagoons, beaches and San Francisco Bay.

With the WIFIA loan, residents and ratepayers could save up to $55.4 million in interest costs, since the loan will fund nearly half of integral upgrades and the expansion of San Mateo's wastewater treatment plant.

San Mateo City Council gave staff approval to proceed with the finalization of the loan agreement on Oct. 19, 2020.

A second WIFIA loan offer from the EPA of $85 million is still being considered, reported the city.

"As we sought funding solutions for our $1 billion program, the WIFIA funding became vital to our funding structure and we are thankful for the encouragement from our City Council and the advocacy of our federal partners to see it through," said Brad Underwood, San Mateo's Public Works director.

The Clean Water Program is San Mateo Public Works Department's largest initiative and is one of only six programs in the Bay Area. 

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Cristina Tuser