We're Investing in our Water Future and Reducing Costs with a WIFIA Loan
We secured a low-cost WIFIA loan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help finance important and necessary improvements to Portland’s water system, including improved corrosion control, a new filtration facility, and related pipelines.
The WIFIA program was created by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, passed by Congress in 2014, and officially launched in 2017. The program is designed to speed investment in water infrastructure by providing low-cost loans for nationally and regionally significant projects like the Bull Run Treatment Projects.
WIFIA Loan Has a Low, Fixed Interest Rate
- WIFIA provides long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for critical infrastructure projects.
- Based on rate projections, it will provide at least $247 million of debt-service savings over the loan term.
- We secured a low 1.89 percent interest rate that will remain locked in for the life of the loan.
WIFIA Loan Gives Us Flexible Financing
- WIFIA offers a flexible repayment schedule to allow for water rate increases to be phased in over a longer period of time.
- We have up to 35 years after substantial completion of the project to repay a loan, saving ratepayers money by allowing for smaller payment amounts over the life of the loan.
- The EPA will allow delaying loan repayment until after the filtration facility is substantially completed in 2027.
- Payments on the loan will not need to begin until after ratepayers are already getting the benefits of the new facilities.
WIFIA Loan Helps Create Jobs
- The Bull Run Treatment Projects are anticipated to create 4,700 to 7,500 direct construction jobs.
- Construction contracts will include Community Benefits Agreements with both contracting and workforce equity commitments.
- Construction contracts will promote training and work opportunities for minorities and women in the construction industry.
WIFIA Loan Amounts
- The WIFIA loan covers up to 49 percent of eligible project costs.
- The total allowable WIFIA loan includes cost estimates submitted to Portland City Council in 2019
- $820 million for the filtration facility and pipelines
- $20 million for improved corrosion control
- Other eligible costs include inflation, indirect costs, bond reserves and interest costs, and a contingency amount.
Financial Assistance Program
We will continue to assist those who struggle to afford their bill through the expanded low-income assistance program. If you’re having trouble affording your bill, our Financial Assistance program may be able to help.
Bull Run Treatment Projects
We are making two important improvements to our water supply from Bull Run to help keep our water safe and abundant for generations to come. Improved Corrosion Control Treatment will be in place in 2022 and will further adjust the chemistry of our water, reducing potential levels of lead at the tap. Filtration will be in operation in 2027 and will remove the microorganism Cryptosporidium and other potential contaminants from our water. Both projects are required under state and federal law.