Omaha receives nearly $70M loan for water infrastructure upgrades

NebraskaРOmaha has received a $69.7 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This loan will help finance the Saddle Creek Retention Treatment Basin. The combined sewer system in the Saddle Creek Basin fills with stormwater and overflows during wet weather events. This sends millions of gallons of polluted runoff and sewage into the Little Papillion Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River.

 

When the Saddle Creek Combined Sewer Overflow Retention Treatment Basin is completed in 2022, it will collect and treat up to 320 million gallons of wastewater and stormwater daily that would have spilled into the creek during wet weather. The project has an estimated construction cost of $93 million to $103 million. The overall project is estimated to cost $142.2 million and EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance nearly half of the project’s eligible costs, including study, design, construction administration, inspection, material testing, land acquisition and construction costs. Because the WIFIA program offers loans with low, fixed interest rates, EPA’s loan is expected to save the City of Omaha up to $20M. Project construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2019.

Indiana receives $436M to update water infrastructure

Indiana– Indiana and the Environmental Protection Agency plan to leverage $436 million in public loans into an even larger private capital investment to modernize Indiana’s aging water infrastructure. The federal government will provide around $30 million for wastewater projects and an estimated $12 million in drinking water projects. Hammond is one of several cities receiving funding in the amount of $67.5 million to increase the capacity of its sewer system. The city of Crown Point will receive $19.3 million and East Chicago $14.1 million.

 

Most of Indiana’s pipes were installed after World War II, though some still in use date back to the 1890s. Many of the pipes are made of lead or other metals that are corroded due to age. Indiana has more than 46,000 miles of water pipes operated by community water systems that serve 72 percent of the state’s population.

New York fixed on $1B drinking water system

New York– The city of New York has committed $1 billion to protect the nation’s largest municipal water system as part of a 115-page agreement with state health officials. Funding for the drinking water system will be used for programs that protect the one million acres of watershed. The biggest chunk, $200 million, will be used to maintain and upgrade dozens of wastewater treatment plants. Another $180 million will go toward reducing pollution from working farms and replacing old and dead forest trees with young saplings that collect nutrients from rain and snow that runs into the reservoirs. There will also be $150 million for shoring up eroding streams to improve water quality and supporting flood mitigation projects. In addition, $96 million has been allocated for preserving land from development and $85 million will be used to expand a program that repairs or replaces septic systems for homes and small businesses.

 

The new agreement is the result of more than six months of negotiations between city and state officials, along with input from environmental and public health advocates, and representatives of upstate residents near the reservoirs. The agreement also calls for an independent review of the city’s water protection efforts by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Consulting group hired to study $80M Cornhusker Highway Corridor project

Nebraska– A consulting group has been hired by the city of Lincoln to perform an economic development study to find the best use of the land that lies in the path of the Cornhusker Highway corridor. The project, which includes moving railroad tracks and streets, is expected to cost $70 million to $80 million and may start by 2026.

 

The city has formed the Northeast Lincoln Advisory Committee, to hold a series of public meetings, meet privately with business owners and community leaders and residents, and present information to community groups as it develops recommendations for the city and the Railroad Transportation Safety District (RTSD). The city is committing to pay about one-third of the $932,250 cost of the yearlong study. Last year, the RTSD picked two potential alternatives for the project. Both would displace some businesses, but no homes. The alternatives generally shift 33rd Street to the west and extend it over railroad tracks. Each includes different plans for traffic on Adams Street.