Source Water Protection: Competitive Grants - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Source Water Protection
Competitive Grants

Applications for this grant program are accepted between Monday October 2, 2017 and Tuesday October 31, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.

This notice applies to all community and nontransient noncommunity public water systems (PWS).

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announces the availability of funding to support source water protection competitive grants for community and nontransient noncommunity PWS. Source water protection activities that are funded under this grant program must focus on managing or eliminating one or more potential sources of contamination that MDH has determined presents a risk to the PWS.

Community PWS serve at least 25 year-round residents or have at least 15 service connections that are used by year-round residents (e.g., a municipality, rural water supply system, subdivision, or mobile home park). Nontransient noncommunity PWS serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year (e.g., school, factory, industrial park, or office building). The funding for source water protection competitive grants is provided under Chapter 91 – H.F. No 707; Art 2; Sec 8 (b) Minnesota Session Laws 2017.


The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota constitution provides funding to MDH to establish the source water protection competitive grant program. This program is administered through the Drinking Water Protection Section.

The fundamental goal of source water protection is to prevent contamination from entering sources of public drinking water at levels that present a risk to people. Source water protection applies to all types of PWS and is based on requirements in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and authorities granted to MDH by the state legislature.

These are competitive grants that will help implement source water protection measures regardless of whether a community or nontransient noncommunity PWS has a source water protection plan in place. Source water protection plans are either 1) wellhead protection plans that have been approved by MDH under requirements of Minnesota Rules Parts 4720. 5100 to 4720.5590 or 2) surface water intake protection plans that have been endorsed by MDH. For qualifying PWS without a source water protection plan, the source water protection measure(s) must address a public health risk related to the drinking water source that has been identified by MDH.

Grant Awards

The total amount of funding that is available under this notice is $75,000. The minimum amount for any grant is $500 and the maximum amount is $10,000 and requires an equal cost-share. However, when more than one qualifying community or nontransient noncommunity PWS applies under the same grant request, the cap amount will be increased by as much as $10,000 for each additional PWS up to a maximum grant amount of $30,000 if three or more PWS apply jointly.

Matching Funds

An equal cost-share for each work item is required for receiving a grant. Cost-sharing is auditable and must be allowable under cost principles and verifiable to records. An applicant must include a signed statement or acknowledgement that proves availability of funds to support the cost share.

A PWS can use its own financial resources or funding obtained from a private or federal grant to meet the cost-share requirement for a competitive grant. The following may not be used as cost-share for a competitive grant: a source water protection plan implementation grant; Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF) funding; another state grant; or another Clean Water Fund grant.

Funding Period

All of the funds that are awarded under this program must be expended by June 30, 2019. Based upon availability of funds, source water protection competitive grants will be offered to PWS annually, during the months of April and October.

Termination for Insufficient Funding

The State may immediately terminate this grant if it does not obtain funding from the Minnesota Legislature or other funding source. Termination must be by written notice to the grantee. The State will not be assessed any penalty if the grant is terminated because of the decision of the Minnesota Legislature or other funding source not to appropriate funds. The State must provide the grantee notice of the lack of funding within a reasonable time of the State’s receiving that notice.


A source water protection competitive grant is intended to support implementation of the drinking water protection measures that address a potential source of contamination exhibiting a high risk that is either 1) described in a source water protection plan or an extension or 2) recognized by MDH through formal correspondence with the PWS (most recent sanitary survey; Notice of Violation (NOV)/Administrative Penalty Order (APO) with compliance agreement; or project evaluation form from MDH drinking water protection staff). Although only qualifying PWS may apply for a source water protection competitive grant, they may use this funding to support the work of other parties. A PWS must meet the following conditions in order to qualify for a grant:

  • Be a community or a nontransient noncommunity PWS
  • The PWS is not currently subject to administrative penalty action by MDH for violation of state or federal public water supply regulations. A PWS that is subject to administrative penalty action from MDH for violating PWS regulations should not receive any type of grant until a compliance agreement is in place. The PWS will apply for a grant to implement the actions scheduled in the compliance agreement.

Each eligible PWS can submit only one application per grant program announcement.

Scope of Work

Grant funding is to be used solely to support work that is:

  1. Referenced to one or more measures contained in a MDH approved source water protection plan or extension to the plan or
  2. Identified by MDH through formal correspondence with the PWS (most recent sanitary survey; NOV/APO with compliance agreement; or project evaluation form from MDH drinking water protection staff).

A grant application must identify:

  • A description of the work that is to be performed
  • The entity responsible for completing the work
  • The cost of performing the work
  • The outcome or deliverable that will be achieved by conducting the work
  • A detailed budget to include an estimated start date for the work to be performed
  • Demonstrated value in protecting the source of drinking water, if the work is for infrastructure

Indirect or administrative costs related to using a source water protection competitive grant are not eligible.

No PWS is required to submit two bids/quotes with their grant application, but it is in their best interest to do so whenever it is possible and practical.

Application Review Process

Applicants may submit a grant application either by mail or electronically using the form provided by MDH. Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday October 31, 2017. Applications must be sent to:

Kris Wenner
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator


Minnesota Department of Health      
P.O. Box 64975                                                         
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55164-0975

Hand Deliver: 625 Robert Street North between business hours: Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Fax: Attention Kris Wenner 651-201-4701

Subject line of email: Attention Kris Wenner

The following documentation is required to be submitted along with the grant application:

  • The page(s) in the source water protection plan that identify the source water protection measure(s) to which the work applies or the formal correspondence from MDH that describes the work that will be conducted (most recent sanitary survey; NOV/APO with compliance agreement; or project evaluation form from MDH drinking water protection staff).
  • A signed statement or acknowledgement on letterhead that 1) confirms that the applicant has the financial resources needed to provide the cash match for all of the activities that are discussed in the grant application and 2) is signed and dated by the person who has authority to administer the grant.

MDH is not responsible for grant applications that are lost in the mail or delayed in electronic transmission. For emailed or faxed applications, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure delivery. Applications received after the deadline will be disqualified from consideration.

Application Form

You may obtain a copy of the source water protection competitive grant request form by:

Scoring Grant Applications
MDH uses the following methodology to score a source water protection competitive grant application:

Grant applications are scored using a standard set of questions and associated point values. The total score for each grant application will be used to place it on a priority list providing that the total score meets or exceeds the minimum value. Once on the list, grants will be funded based upon:

  • The score
  • Date placed upon the list
  • Availability of grant funds

MDH will assign points based upon the following grant review questions:

1. Is supporting documentation attached to the application? If not, the grant review cannot proceed further. Grantee must attach at least one of the following.

  • Sanitary survey
  • MDH approved wellhead protection plan/surface water intake plan or MDH approved extension
  • Project evaluation form: This form will be filled out by MDH staff assigned to the area where the PWS is located. The applicant has to contact the designated MDH staff before submitting the application.
  • NOV with project evaluation form
  • APO with compliance agreement (APO contains one specific recommendation)
  • APO with compliance agreement and project evaluation form (APO contains more than one recommendation)

2. Are the work items described in enough detail with associated costs so that MDH can clearly communicate to the public how the money is being spent to protect the source of the drinking water? If not, the grant review cannot proceed further.

3. Is there sufficient documentation in the detailed budget and schedule to support the grant request amount and to indicate that the work can be completed within the time period that the grant is in effect? (0 to 10 points)

4. Will the grant result in the PWS eliminating or managing a potential contaminant source? If not, the grant process cannot proceed further. (0 to 40 points) The 40 points will be awarded based on the following priorities.

Public health risk (0 to 15 points)

    • Sensitive geologic setting; High vulnerability of the Drinking Water Supply Management Area
      (DWSMA); vulnerable well  (15 points)
    • Moderate vulnerability of the DWSMA (10 points)
    • Potential contaminant source does not meet required isolation distance or includes well code violations of other types (10 points)         
    • Install security; generators (10 points)
    • Non-sensitive geological setting; non-vulnerable DWSMA; non-vulnerable well (5 points)

    Method of correction (0 to 10 points)

    • Consolidation/connection to a community PWS (10 points)
    • Alternative water supply/construction of a new well/ intake, repairing existing well/intake (10 points)             
    • Treatment of surface water or groundwater under the direct influence of a surface water source or a conjunctive DWSMA (10 points)                                                         
    • Remove potential contamination source (including well sealing) (10 points)
    • Management of potential contaminant source including non-point sources (5 points)  
    • Treatment of groundwater source (5 points)           
    • Improve security; generators (5 points)

Water quality issues (0 to 15 points)

    • Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) or Health Based Value (HBV) exceedance (15 points)
    • Regulated contaminant value at or beyond one half of the MCL or HBV (10 points)
    • Other water quality detections (5 points)
    • Preventative action to avoid water quality problems (5 points)


    • There is an existing DWSMA and the activity takes place outside the DWSMA (-5 points)

5. Water quantity issues (0 to 10 points)       

  • Water quantity issues related to the source (e.g., impaired well capacity, source aquifer at risk of overuse, etc.). Additional production to satisfy business growth is not eligible.
  • Preventative actions to avoid water quantity issues

Scoring Results

  • The minimum score to be placed on the grant award list is 25 points
  • The maximum score that can be achieved is 60 points

Note: MDH reserves the right to consider the application incomplete and to assign zero points if the applicant has not provided enough documentation. Points are assigned on a scale basis and depend on how much detail is provided on the application form.

Trade Secret Information

The source water protection measures that are contained in a source water protection plan have already been reviewed and approved by MDH. Those that have been communicated to a PWS through formal correspondence from MDH have also been reviewed and approved. Therefore, the scoring serves to prioritize work that will provide the greatest public health benefit that is achieved using public funding. MDH does not anticipate that trade secret information will be compromised as a result of the information presented in a grant application nor documenting the work that is performed and reported under a grant agreement.

Notification Process

MDH will provide written notification to grant applicants of the scoring results after November 7, 2017.

Successful applicants will be informed that either 1) they will receive a grant using the amount that has been budgeted for this application period or 2) they are being given priority for funding in the next application period using the score and the time and date that was assigned to their application when it was received by MDH. Successful applicants may be required to provide additional information necessary for the grant agreement.

If awarded a grant, no work should begin until all required signatures have been obtained on the grant agreement, and grantee receives a signed copy of the grant agreement.

Allocation of the Grant Award

The PWS will be reimbursed once the project duties and the grant reporting requirements have been successfully met and MDH is satisfied that the project has been completed according to the terms of the grant agreement. All work will meet plan review and inspection requirements, and will be done in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations.

The PWS has the obligation to pay any third party (contractor) hired for the purpose of completing the work before or immediately after receiving payment from MDH.

Grantee Reporting Requirements

A PWS who receives a source water protection competitive grant must report the results of each work item that is funded by providing all of the following information:

  • The results of performing the work that is described in the grant application
  • A summary of the costs that are attributed to performing each work item
  • A summary of the contribution that a recipient makes to the award, referred to as cost-share
  • A narrative report

Additional requirements will be listed in the grant agreement, based upon the nature of the project.

Application Questions

Questions regarding grant application should be directed to:

Kris Wenner
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions about Competitive Grants

Updated Monday, September 25, 2017 at 04:11PM