Shearman & Sterling represented the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in connection with the entry into a $1.05 billion master loan agreement for wastewater system improvements with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) in coastal Virginia and the extension of an initial $225 million secured loan under the master program for the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) – Tranche 1 Project. The other financing sources for the Tranche 1 Project include an SRF Loan from Virginia’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund program and revenue bonds.
The master loan agreement with HRSD is USEPA’s largest single loan commitment to date under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and the first to exceed $1 billion in water or wastewater infrastructure assistance. The Tranche 1 loan and future WIFIA loans under the master program will fund HRSD’s innovative Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow Program. This program applies water reuse and advanced water treatment technologies to replenish the overdrawn Potomac Aquifer and restore its water supply. It will implement more than 20 projects across the service area to upgrade existing treatment works, adding advanced water treatment facilities and multiple wells to add drinking water quality SWIFT Water™ to the stressed Potomac Aquifer. By replenishing the Potomac Aquifer, the program will help restore water supply, prevent saltwater intrusion, and mitigate land subsidence related to aquifer withdrawals in coastal Virginia. The program will also improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay by reducing surface water discharges by approximately 100 million gallons per day, which equates to 90 percent of HRSD’s discharge to the Bay watershed. Total program costs are projected to exceed $2 billion.