The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $42 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan to Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which will help fund the Waterway Flood Management and Restoration Project, expand stormwater management capacity and reduce flood risk in historically underserved communities.
MMSD’s Waterway Flood Management and Restoration Project will improve stormwater management using traditional and green infrastructure solutions. The project includes design and construction of a 31-million-gallon stormwater management facility. The facility will be developed on 15 acres of abandoned industrial property, which also will be transformed into a green space. In addition, MMSD will design and construct a 210-acre flood storage basin to increase capacity of the culverts. It also will replace 2,800 feet of concrete channel lining with natural channel designs and reconstruct 2,200 feet of non-concrete lined stream channel.
Combined, these projects will reduce flood risk to hundreds of residential and commercial buildings while decreasing sewer overflows, according to a news release from the EPA. Incorporating green infrastructure will result in more green spaces and mitigate urban heat island effects in communities with environmental justice concerns.
EPA’s $42 million WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of the $85 million project. MMSD will save about $5.5 million with low-cost WIFIA financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 130 jobs and construction is expected to be complete in 2027. This WIFIA loan is the first of three under MMSD’s WIFIA Master Agreement.