EPA offers funds to help fix pipes, treatment plants
By Aldo Toledo
REDWOOD CITY » Three massive loans from the federal government totaling nearly $200 million were announced Tuesday to help repair aging clay pipes in the East Bay and to fund a new water treatment facility in Redwood City, a sum which Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan said could increase if Congress passes the trillion- dollar infrastructure bill. At an event hosted by Silicon Valley Clean Water on Tuesday at the agency’s new wastewater treatment plant under construction in Redwood Shores, Regan announced two Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans totaling $143 million to SVCW and one for $25 million to the Oro Loma Sanitary District supporting projects expected to create more than 2,500 jobs.
“ Investing in water infrastructure has proven time and again to deliver a multitude of benefits, including building climate and drought-resilient water systems, safeguarding public health, and creating good-paying jobs,” Regan said. “ Today’s announcements embody the promise of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which will broaden the scope of these powerful benefits for communities across the nation.” On his California tour, Regan stopped by Redwood City before joining Gov. Gavin Newsom at Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains Tuesday, where both will discuss how the EPA and California can work together to tackle the climate crisis and collaborate on wildfire recovery efforts. The massive CZU wildfire tore through the state park last year, destroying much of the park’s trails and buildings.
Regan made clear that the federal government will sup-
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port future economic vitality by improving water infrastructure while also protecting the environment in announcing the three loans. The EPA's two loans to Sili- con Valley Clean Water will help finance wastewater system rehabilitation projects, including $69 million for sewer upgrades and $74 million of the new treatment plant. Together, the projects will allow the plant to self-generate 100% of its power, saving the agency about $133 million.
"We a re immen sely grateful and proud of the par tnership SVCW has with EPA, a collaboration that has allowed SVCW to lead the industry with innovative and sustainable capital improvement projects," said Silicon Valley Clean Water General Manager Teresa Herrera. "We look forward to our continued alliance by advancing our shared commitment to the protection of public health and our environment for generations to come." In the East Bay's Oro Loma Sanitary District, aging clay pipes installed more than 100 years ago are leaking and increasing the likelihood of massive failures. That's why Oro Loma board President Rita Duncan believes the $25 million federal loan will be a lifesaver for the district, which mainly provides water to unincorporated Alameda County communities.
"Oro Loma is pleased to partner with WIFIA to fund these much-needed sewer improvement s ," Duncan said. "Through our partnership, we will renew the infrastructure in our community, provide jobs to local tradespeople, and help protect the health of the San Francisco Bay."