DC Water announces successful sale of $350M green century bonds

Sponsored by


WASHINGTON, DC, July 15, 2014 -- Last week, DC Water issued $350 million in taxable, green century bonds, marking several firsts for the Authority and the municipal sector.

The 100-year final maturity represents the first municipal century bond issued by a water/wastewater utility in the United States. It also represents DC Water's inaugural green bond issue and the first "certified" green bond in the U.S. debt capital markets with an independent second-party sustainability opinion.

Proceeds from the century bonds will finance a portion of the DC Clean Rivers Project, a massive $2.6-billion effort to construct a deep tunnel system that will transport combined stormwater and sewage to DC Water's Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, significantly reducing combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to area waterways.

Accordingly, the issuance achieved its green certification based upon the project's environmental benefits, which include improving water quality by remediating CSOs, promoting climate resilience through flood mitigation and improving quality of life through promotion of biodiversity and waterfront restoration.

The Blue Plains Tunnel is part of DC Water's Clean Rivers Project, a massive tunnel system that will significantly reduce water pollution in the region's waterways. (DC Water)


DC Water has typically issued 30- to 35-year tax-exempt municipal bonds to fund its capital improvement projects, reflecting the anticipated useful life of the assets. In the case of the Clean Rivers Project, DC Water is financing a portion of the construction costs with a century bond to better match the useful life of the tunnel systems -- expected to perform for at least 100 years. The key reasons DC Water chose to issue century bonds included:

  • Asset-Liability Matching: Century bonds permit the Authority to match its long-lived assets and liabilities on its balance sheet. 
  • Intergenerational Equity and Fairness: Century bonds spread the costs of the project more affordably and fairly to those who will benefit over the next 100 years.
  • Committed, Long-Term, Low-Cost Capital: Century bonds allow DC Water to take advantage of historically low interest rates and to lock-in funding costs for a very long-lived asset.

The $350-million taxable, senior-lien, fixed-rate century bonds were sold via negotiated sale, led by joint book-running senior managers Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Barclays. Public Financial Management, Inc. served as DC Water's financial advisor for this transaction. Favorable market conditions and strong investor demand enabled DC Water to upsize the transaction by $50 million from an initial offering size of $300 million.

The century bonds were offered at an interest rate of 4.814 percent with a final maturity of 2114. DC Water also intends to price $100 million of tax-exempt, subordinate-lien, variable-rate demand bonds during the week of July 21st, bringing the total sale to $450 million.

See also:

"DC Water kicks off massive Blue Plains Tunnel project"

"DC Water awards Parsons massive tunnel design-build contract for Clean Rivers Project"

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Clearing Things Up at Prequannock WTP

In 2010, the city of Newark, N.J., retained Hatch Mott MacDonald to investigate potential solutions to a problem at Pequannock WTP. Decant tanks were providing minimal solids removal as a result of removed tube settlers from deterioration. Inclined plate settlers were identified as a feasible alternative for improving supernatant water quality and were selected for pilot testing.

Be the Change: Embracing New Approaches to Foster Innovation in the Water Industry

The pressure to accommodate change will drive our traditionally risk-averse industry to embrace new and different approaches at an accelerated pace. Further, the demand for a zero-energy footprint will also drive improvements in co-generation efficiencies, energy conservation and recovery methods, and comprehensive resource recovery.

CDC preparing Ebola guidance for wastewater treatment personnel

In a recent conference call with AWWA and other major water organizations, the CDC shared it has prepared and is conducting an expedited internal review of an interim guidance on wastewater worker safety and the inactivation of the Ebola virus by wastewater treatment processes.

New partnership to measure farmers' conservation impacts on U.S. water quality

The U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced a new partnership that will provide a clearer picture of the benefits of farmers' conservation practices on the quality of the nation's waters. 

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA