The City of Wichita has been selected by the Environmental Protection Agency to apply for a federal loan through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). If approved, funds from the loan will be used for the construction of a new $524 million water treatment facility located at 21st Street North and Zoo Boulevard.
Wichita's project was one of 62 that were submitted to the EPA through a Letter of Interest (LOI) to qualify for the WIFIA loan which offers a unique combination of low interest rates and a delayed repayment schedule. The selection process was competitive as EPA officials reviewed the LOI and rated all candidate projects and organizations on 16 different criteria including the impact of the project, readiness to proceed, and the creditworthiness of the submitting agency. EPA selected Wichita for up to 49% of the total expected costs of a new water treatment facility.
"The fact that Wichita was selected to apply by the EPA is a testament to the importance and scope of the project as well as their faith in our ability to get the job done," said Mayor Jeff Longwell. "I would like to thank the Burns & McDonnell-led team of engineers who got us through Phase 1, and especially the City Council members who traveled with me to Washington, D.C. to meet with EPA about the project. They advocated for Wichita, and it was effective."
Approximately half a million people are served by the existing water treatment facility which was constructed in 1939. Its age, condition, and importance to the Wichita region prompted the City to seek a federal WIFIA loan. If approved, construction of the new water treatment facility would begin in early 2020 and be completed by spring 2024.
The City's application for the WIFIA loan will be due in 12 months. During that time, additional engineering design and financial review will be conducted to support the application.