From EPA Press Release Issued September 13, 2022
WASHINGTON – Today, at an event in Southern California, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an $18 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Helix Water District in San Diego County, California to support the Drinking Water Reliability Project. With EPA’s WIFIA loan, Helix Water District will increase the region’s drinking water resiliency by expanding water reuse opportunities and reducing reliance on imported water.
“Helix Water District’s project represents the future of water in the West,” said EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Bruno Pigott. “EPA is proud to help finance these infrastructure upgrades that will increase water reuse and help secure reliable safe drinking water for generations to come.”
Helix Water District will modernize existing pump stations, conveyance infrastructure, and distribution pipelines as well as install an aeration system in Lake Jennings to meet state surface water requirements. By completing this project, Helix Water District will replace 30% of its water needs that are currently met by strained regional sources with an alternative source of purified water conveyed from the East County Advanced Water Purification project, which received a separate WIFIA loan. This project also supports California’s Title 22 “Pure Water” objective to increase use of recycled water by at least 2 million-acre-feet per year by 2030.
“In California, we are purifying recycled water and ocean water to replace the water that nature used to provide,” said Helix Water District Board President Kathleen Coates Hedberg. “The only way we can afford to keep rates as low as we can and develop these new projects is through collaboration – multiple agencies working together and securing capital from multiple funding sources. We are partnering with neighboring agencies to develop a new, drought-proof water supply and we are so pleased that the EPA selected our project for funding.”
As a result of the WIFIA program’s flexibility and competitive rates, Helix Water District will save approximately $3.2 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Construction is expected to be completed in 2027 and construction and operation are estimated to create nearly 400 jobs.