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Los Angeles Receives $224 Million Loan From EPA For Water Recycling Project

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The United States Environmental Protection Agency has granted a $224 million loan to the City of Los Angeles. The loan will be used to fund a project that aims to purify wastewater and replenish the depleted San Fernando Basin.

The project, called The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), aims to purify 15.5 million gallons of the city's wastewater every day, a move that would replenish both the basin and its aquifers - a body of rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.

The project's total cost is estimated at $458 million, with the funding coming from revenue bonds and borrower cash. It is also estimated that the loan from the EPA will save Los Angeles nearly $81 million in interest.

The loan will also help fund the Donald C. Tillman Advanced Water Purification Facility, the location where the wastewater will undergo purification. The facility will both help turn L.A.'s wastewater into a sustainable resource and create nearly 1,500 jobs in the process.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said of the project:

"At a time when imported water supplies have grown scarce and we're facing a statewide drought emergency, it is critically important that we increase our local water resilience... Through investments in the Advanced Water Purification Facility and our Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, water credit programs like EPA's WIFIA and the State Revolving Fund are helping to secure a sustainable water future for Los Angeles."

Wastewater is essentially many forms of used water. Traditionally speaking, wastewater is simply water after it has been used in a variety of applications usually leaching, flushing, or washing away wastes from locations those wastes were generated or placed. It comes from domestic, agricultural and industrial sources, amongst many others.

It is commonly a synonym used for sewage, runoff, stormwater and meltwater from melting snow.

The project's expected end is in 2027, a point in which officials believe that California will have a higher resiliency to droughts, - thanks largely to this project.

This news comes in the middle of another historic drought in the state of California.

The EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox offered reasoning for providing the loan:

"This mega-drought in the west is a forceful and persistent reminder that bold action is needed to protect our communities and address the climate crisis... We see water infrastructure projects - like the Donald C. Tillman
Advanced Water Purification Facility - as central to climate resiliency and we
commend our state and local partners for this project."

WIFIA has now provided $11.7 billion in 60 loans nationwide.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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