EPA awards $340 million for water infrastructure and lead pipe replacement projects in Philadelphia

By Jenny LescohierFebruary 03, 2023

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan will jumpstart the work to modernize Philadelphia's drinking water system with an initial investment of nearly $20 million

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $340-million financing commitment to upgrade the City of Philadelphia’s aging drinking water infrastructure, including replacing customers’ lead service lines.

This Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) low-interest loan will jumpstart the work to modernize the drinking water system with an initial investment of nearly $20 million.

By financing this first project with a WIFIA loan, EPA estimates the City of Philadelphia will save approximately $4 million. Construction and operation under this first loan are estimated to create approximately 100 jobs.

Portions of the City of Philadelphia’s drinking water systems are approaching the end of their useful life and need significant upgrades to continue to deliver clean and safe water to the residents of Philadelphia. With this announcement, EPA is committing over $340 million in WIFIA financing to the city. The initial loan of $19.8 million will modernize critical drinking water infrastructure by replacing approximately 160 lead service lines and 15 miles of watermains throughout the city.

“This commitment will provide an immense boost to Philadelphia’s ongoing efforts to ramp up water main replacement and help sustain our recently launched 25-year, multibillion-dollar Water Revitalization Plan, investments that will result in direct health and safety benefits for all Philadelphians,” said Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Randy E. Hayman.

“Replacing miles of water mains in these neighborhoods will also strengthen our campaign to replace customers’ lead service lines as we renew and improve the City’s infrastructure. This represents the biggest investment in drinking water infrastructure in a generation, and we would not be able to do this work without this level of federal investment.”

In addition to WIFIA loans and other federally funded programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a historic $50-billion investment in water infrastructure and allocates $15 billion specifically for lead service line replacement and removal. To date, more than $4.7 billion of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been invested through the State Revolving Funds to support states, Tribes and territories in improving water infrastructure.

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