The EPA today announced that the City of Wichita has been selected to apply for financing through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). This financing could fund up to $181.1 million of the proposed $357 million estimated capital cost of the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Project, with the remaining funds being provided by the State of Kansas' Revolving Loan Fund. The WIFIA program would allow the City to take advantage of low interest rates and provide a deferral of repayment for five years after substantial completion of the project.
"In 2020 the City was awarded a WIFIA loan for the Water Treatment facility. This next round of WIFIA financing is a testament to the need and importance of the BNR project," said Alan King, Director of Public Works and Utilities. "We are so grateful for our federal partners for the opportunity to apply for this investment in Wichita's infrastructure and for helping us to save community ratepayers money."
The City of Wichita and the Department of Public Works & Utilities staff have been preparing for Wichita's water future through an ongoing master planning process. The Integrated Water and Wastewater Master plan was updated in 2016 in preparation for more stringent nutrient removal regulations, aging infrastructure, and proposed population growth.
The Biological Nutrient Removal Project will include the rehabilitation of two of the City's most critical wastewater facilities which provide conveyance and treatment of wastewater within the city's largest watershed, serving nearly 180 square miles of the City's core.
Benefits of the project include a significant advance in regional water quality, alignment with regional and national water quality regulations, improvements in odor control, as well as the creation of an estimated 550 construction jobs and six trained, professionally certified post-construction jobs.
Engineering and design of the Biological Nutrient Removal Project will continue through 2022, with approximately four years of construction beginning in 2023.