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$100M in funding approved for Hampton Roads water improvement projects

Virginia DEQThe Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, in partnership with the Virginia Resources Authority, has closed a loan with Hampton Roads Sanitation District to finance $100 million of their Capital Improvement Plan and Sustainable Water Infrastructure for Tomorrow (SWIFT) Program.

The first and largest of its kind for Virginia’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund program, the loan will help fund – over the next 20 years – the state’s largest suite of water quality improvement projects.

Virginia’s healthy Revolving Loan Fund, capitalized annually through a grant from the EPA, is a reliable, low-interest funding source for the state’s wastewater infrastructure improvements, stormwater and agriculture best management practices, living shorelines, land conservation and brownfield remediation projects. The Fund is administered by DEQ’s Clean Water Financing and Assistance Program in partnership with the Virginia Resources Authority.

“This critical funding will support projects that address multiple challenges including water quality, water supply and coastal resilience,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with HRSD and Hampton Roads communities to restore the Chesapeake Bay, reduce the impacts of climate change and conserve water resources to support sustainable economic development.”

DEQ evaluated the projects and determined each one provides a substantial water quality benefit. After these approvals, VRA performed the credit underwriting and closing. Prior to construction of each project, DEQ will ensure all environmental reviews are conducted and that engineering, construction and procurement requirements are met. When projects are underway, DEQ inspects ongoing work, disburses funds and conducts interim and comprehensive evaluations.

“DEQ worked closely with VRA, EPA and HRSD to develop this innovative approach that provides flexible financing options to fund environmental improvement projects – one that benefits borrowers, taxpayers and the environment,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “Bundling more than 40 water quality and water supply projects under one streamlined application ensures these beneficial projects will move forward without delay.”

HRSD is a political subdivision of the commonwealth that serves 18 cities and counties in southeast Virginia by effectively treating more than 150 million gallons of wastewater daily. SWIFT is a water purification project in eastern Virginia that seeks to ensure a sustainable source of groundwater to meet current and future needs in the region. The project takes HRSD’s already highly treated water that would otherwise be discharged to rivers and uses it to replenish the Potomac Aquifer, the primary source of groundwater throughout eastern Virginia.

“The investments HRSD is making in restoring the Chesapeake Bay, renewing aging infrastructure and recharging the region’s groundwater supply will ensure future generations inherit clean waterways and will be able to keep them clean,” said HRSD General Manager Ted Henifin. “Our partnership with DEQ and VRA to fund a package of projects at an incredibly low interest rate, minimizes the cost of borrowing and allows us to stretch our ratepayers’ dollars, something we strive for with everything we do.”

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