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King County secures $500 million commitment from EPA for critical wastewater investments that protect water quality and prepare for climate impacts while lowering finance costs

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March 28, 2024


The King County Wastewater Treatment Division secured a $498.3 million loan package from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete 14 infrastructure projects that will help improve water quality, while saving millions in interest costs.

King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division secured a nearly $500 million loan package under a new master agreement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete 14 critical infrastructure upgrades that will better protect water quality in the Puget Sound region for decades.

The capital projects will build on other enhancements King County has made in recent years that have made the regional wastewater treatment system safer, more reliable, and more resilient to climate impacts.

"The Biden administration is once again demonstrating its strong commitment to protecting the natural environment throughout the country, including one of the nation’s premier waterbodies, the Puget Sound,” said Executive Constantine. “Earning a half-billion-dollar commitment for clean-water infrastructure reflects King County’s reputation as a trusted fiscal and environmental steward, producing the best results for each public dollar we invest for people, salmon, and orcas.”

King County received the first installment of funding, a $194 million loan package funded by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. This initial loan will save King County ratepayers $19.8 million in interest fees. The extended repayment period also lowers the county’s annual debt payments.

The $498.3 million commitment, the largest amount ever for the regional wastewater system, will support infrastructure projects across King County, including seismic upgrades at two regional wastewater treatment plants, improvements to the recycled water system, and upgrades to miles of conveyance and sewer pipes, among others. Here are a few of the 14 projects:

“Puget Sound is a national treasure, and King County has a responsibility to protect and improve water quality for people, salmon and orcas,” said Kamuron Gurol, King County Wastewater Treatment Division Director. “We need and appreciate this package from our federal partners so that our ratepayers aren’t left alone to shoulder the burden of these clean-water investments.”

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division will invest $10 billion over the next decade to reduce sources of pollution in local waterways, maintain and repair aging assets, and build new infrastructure to prepare for climate change.

This marks the third time the Wastewater Treatment Division has earned a federal loan for major infrastructure projects. The EPA considers how soon construction can begin, the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, and the project’s overall benefit to the community in its application review.

King County was the first loan recipient under the federal act when the EPA issued a $134.5 million loan in 2018 to help fund construction of the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station. In 2021, King County closed on a $96.8 million loan to help design and construct the Ship Canal Water Quality Project, which is a partnership with Seattle Public Utilities.

This has been the most productive five-year period for improvements since the regional treatment system was built in the 1960s. The Wastewater Treatment Division has advanced dozens of capital projects, including seismic upgrades, replacing aging pumps and pipes, and building a 24,000-square-foot structure at West Point Treatment Plant that will house 80,000 pounds of high-voltage batteries, providing operators with a more reliable power supply.

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