Newsletter – December 2018
Clean Water Program Earns EPA Infrastructure Loan Invite
The City of San Mateo, in partnership with Foster City, received a major boost from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it was invited to apply for a $277 million loan to support the Clean Water Program.
The EPA announced the Peninsula-based program as one of only 39 across the country to be invited to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan. In all, the EPA received 62 letters of interest from 26 states and territories for the WIFIA federal low-interest loan program, before announcing it will offer up to $5 billion during the Fiscal Year 2018 selection round.
The Clean Water Program, San Mateo Public Works Department’s largest initiative, is one of six programs in the Bay Area shortlisted for this annual loan. The Clean Water Program will ask for up to $277 million to modernize the City’s wastewater treatment plant, which will improve the quality of water discharged into the San Francisco Bay and provide potential opportunities for water reuse.
“The flexibility of WIFIA funding is critical for the success of the treatment plant project and overall success of the Clean Water Program,” said Brad Underwood, San Mateo’s Public Works director. “We greatly appreciate the advocacy of our Council and the support of our U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, as well as congressional representatives Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, who worked on our behalf”
If successful, the loan will fund nearly half of the critical upgrades and expansion of San Mateo’s aging wastewater treatment plant, which is anticipated to be completed by 2024. The plant serves 143,000 residents in San Mateo, Foster City, Hillsborough and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County. The final WIFIA loan decision will be made in 2019.
“The $277 million loan will help ensure that heavy rainstorms won’t contaminate San Mateo’s streets, creeks, lagoons, beaches and ultimately San Francisco Bay,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “I’m pleased the EPA provided this critical loan financing and commend San Mateo and its residents for raising local rates to make the project possible.”
The City is actively pursuing a range of financing options for the entire $1 billion Clean Water Program, and the WIFIA loan could save residents and ratepayers millions of dollars in interest costs. This program was rated highly as it has the potential to protect the environmentally sensitive San Francisco Bay by eliminating sewage overflows.
“I pushed for this loan from the EPA and I am pleased that the importance of this project registered with the agency. This loan will allow San Mateo, Foster City, and Hillsborough to create the most modern, environmentally-sensitive treatment plant in our state,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, who represents the 14th Congressional District. “This low interest loan will be critical to achieving this goal and is extremely beneficial to the residents of my district and our environment. Bravo to these three cities for creating a successful and competitive package.”
EPA’s WIFIA loans allow large and small communities across the country to implement projects to address two national water priorities – providing for clean and safe drinking water including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants and addressing aging water infrastructure.
Private Sewer Lateral Program Updates Available
At the December 12 meeting of the Sustainability and Infrastructure Commission, Public Works Department staff presented an update on the results of their research into options for private sewer lateral ordinances. Please click here to view the video of the presentation.
Additionally, the Department has released the annual report on the results of the Private Sewer Lateral Cost-Sharing Program.
Be Water Wise this Winter!
Did you know that your sewer fees are calculated from your water use between the months of November and March?
The reason it’s done this way is to achieve the most accurate calculations of indoor water use (which goes down the sewer), while not including outdoor water use (which does not go directly into the sewer system).
This means that the more you continue to conserve water during the winter months, not only will you save on water charges—you’ll also see savings on your sewer bill.
To find out more about how your sewer bills are calculated, please check this out.
For some easy and creative water conservation tips, please click here.