EchoWater project aims to improve water quality in the San Francisco Bay Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld announced a record $1.6 billion in Clean Water Act State Revolving Funds—the largest single block of financing ever issued—to upgrade the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. Blumenfeld announced the loan award at a groundbreaking event for the treatment plant in Elk Grove, Calif. The project will bring the wastewater plant to advanced treatment levels, removing nearly 95% of ammonia from wastewater discharges to protect the Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary.
“California’s economic security depends on a healthy Bay Delta, the largest and most important estuary on the West Coast,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s Clean Water Act State Revolving Funds are a key investment in clean water infrastructure to protect this precious resource.”
The Bay Delta supports more than 750 animal and plant species and is the hub of California’s water distribution system, supplying drinking water to 25 million people and irrigation water to 4 million acres of farmland. The Bay Delta ecosystem has been degraded over time by many factors, including discharges of ammonia, nitrate and other pollutants.
Construction of the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade, dubbed the EchoWater Project, is expected to cost a total of $2 billion and will take place over eight years. Once completed, the wastewater discharges from the treatment plant will meet new state water quality requirements to reduce discharges of ammonia, nitrates and other pollutants. The existing wastewater plant, which serves approximately 1.4 million people and currently provides secondary treatment, is one of the largest sources of ammonia and nitrate pollution to the San Francisco Bay Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary.
The record $1.6 billion in low interest loans for the EchoWater Project from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund will save ratepayers at least a half billion dollars during the life of the loan compared to traditional bond funding. Since 1989, EPA has invested $2.8 billion in the California Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help communities address critical infrastructure needs like wastewater treatment while helping save communities money. The revolving funds are reinvested to provide a constant source of money to meet the state’s clean water infrastructure needs.