Oceanside receives $69M loan from EPA for pure water project
Last updated 9/18/2020 at 12:13pm
OCEANSIDE (CNS) - Oceanside was awarded a $69 million loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday, Sept. 17 to help finance the city's Pure Water Oceanside project.
The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan from the EPA will finance nearly half of the $158 million water purification project costs, in addition to portions of the city's lower and upper recycled projects. The project, scheduled to be finished in 2022, is intended to create a new local source of drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound. The project will provide more than 32% of Oceanside's water supply, or 3 to 5 million gallons per day, and will be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County.
Commemorating the historic moment, the city of Oceanside held a news conference with officials including Deputy Mayor Jack Feller, Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator of Water David Ross and Oceanside Water Utilities Director Cari Dale.
``At the city of Oceanside, we are focused not only on today, but also are committed to planning for tomorrow to ensure future generations will have access to high-quality drinking water,'' Dale said. ``This WIFIA loan will be instrumental in moving our Pure Water Oceanside project forward to completion and aligns with our long-term goal to have 50% of our city's water supply be locally sourced by 2030.''
The remaining project funds will come from a combination of grants, water system revenue-backed obligations and system funds. The 1.2% interest rate on the loan Oceanside negotiated will save the city an estimated $24 million compared to typical market financing, Dale said. Project construction and operation are expected to create 622 jobs.
``EPA's support for this project illustrates two agency priorities as we work to meet 21st century water demands -- reusing the water that we have and revamping our nation's water infrastructure,'' said Ross. ``With WIFIA's support, Pure Water Oceanside will be a landmark project as EPA looks to foster additional innovative water reuse strategies and infrastructure investments across the country.''
The WIFIA program accelerates investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.
Oceanside currently imports most of its water from the Sacramento Bay Delta and Colorado River, which are hundreds of miles away. The imported water is subject to rising costs out of the city's control, requires an enormous amount of energy to transport and is vulnerable to natural disasters and earthquakes.