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February 18, 2021

AlexRenew Secures Historic Loan to Invest in Healthier Waterways for Alexandria

A $321 million loan from the Environmental Protection Agency marks a major milestone in RiverRenew’s fundraising strategy.

AlexRenew has secured a $321 million loan through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to help fund the RiverRenew Tunnel Project. The Tunnel Project includes the construction of a two-mile-long, 12-foot-wide tunnel, shafts, and other sewer infrastructure and will prevent about 130 million gallons of sewage from entering the Potomac River, Hunting Creek, and Hooffs Run.

WIFIA is a Federal loan program designed to accelerate investment in water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost assistance for significant water projects nationwide. This loan will assist AlexRenew in funding about half of the $615 million capital cost for RiverRenew, the largest infrastructure initiative in the history of Alexandria. Additional funding for the program will come from state grants and loans, as well as cash contributions from AlexRenew on behalf of city residents and from Fairfax County, to whom AlexRenew provides wholesale wastewater treatment services. A state-mandated law requires RiverRenew completion by July 1, 2025.

After its completion, RiverRenew will prevent over 130 million gallons of combined sewer pollution from entering Alexandria's waterways.

After its completion, RiverRenew will prevent over 130 million gallons of combined sewer pollution from entering Alexandria's waterways each year.

“Investment in wastewater infrastructure is essential to keeping our nation’s waters clean and our communities thriving. EPA is excited to partner with Alexandria Renew Enterprises on this project that will improve water quality and benefit communities along the Potomac River,” said EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “EPA’s WIFIA program will play a key role in bringing economic opportunities, environmental protection, and savings to communities across the country as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to build back better.”

“Alexandria’s health and economic vitality depend on clean waterways,” said our Board Chair John Hill. “We are greatly appreciative of our partnership with EPA to implement this historic program for our community and its future generations.” In total, our Water Resource Recovery Facility cleans about 13 billion gallons of wastewater each year from Alexandria and portions of Fairfax County.

“The WIFIA loan is a critical component of AlexRenew’s funding strategy for RiverRenew,” said AlexRenew’s General Manager, Karen Pallansch. Through WIFIA, our team was able to lock in interest rates at historic lows that help offset sewer rate increases associated with the program’s capital expenditures. The interest cost savings from the WIFIA loan will help reduce the original rate increase projection of $40 per month per bill by an estimated $5 per month compared with the costs of obtaining funding through a market rate loan.

Construction within the community is expected to be underway later this year. Pallansch noted, “AlexRenew looks forward to continuing our collaborative partnership with our community members to solve environmental challenges that help grow our local economy through jobs, investments, and clean water.”