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

Source Water Protection
Competitive Grants

Applications for this grant program are accepted between April 2, 2018, 8:00 a.m., and April 30, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions about Competitive Grants

Notification of Grant Availability
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 (SWP) 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 SWP 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 SWP competitive grant program. This program is administered through the Drinking Water Protection Section.

The fundamental goal of SWP is to prevent contamination from entering sources of public drinking water at levels that present a risk to people. SWP 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 SWP measures regardless of whether a community or nontransient noncommunity PWS has a SWP plan in place. SWP 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 SWP plan, these 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. Joint applications must identify which applicant will serve as fiscal agent and include a letter of support from the other PWS(s).

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 SWP 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, SWP 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 SWP 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 SWP 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 SWP 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 PWS 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 SWP 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 SWP 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
MDH will evaluate all eligible and complete applications received by the deadline. 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 April 30, 2018. Applications must be sent to:

Kris Wenner
SWP Grant Coordinator

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

Hand Deliver: 625 Robert Street North; Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101
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 SWP plan that identify its 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 SWP competitive grant request form by:

  • Contacting the person listed above;
  • Downloading the form that is included with this announcement
    • Competitive Grant Application Form  

MDH uses the following methodology to score a SWP 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:

Public health risk (0 to 15 points)

  • Sensative 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
  • Potential contaminant source being eliminated or managed is targeted to the drinking water source - 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 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 contamination source, including management of non-point source - 5 points
  • Treatment 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
  • Preventive action to avoid water quality problems - 5 points

DWSMA (0 to 15 points)    

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

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 SWP measures that are contained in a SWP plan have already been reviewed and approved by MDH. Those that have been communicated to a public water 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 anticipates providing written notification to grant applicants of the scoring results after May 7, 2018. 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. The award decisions of MDH are final and not subject to appeal. 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 an executed and signed copy of it.  Any costs associated with work conducted prior to a fully executed grant agreement will not be reimbursed.

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 receiving payment from MDH.

Grantee Reporting Requirements
A PWS who receives a SWP 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
651 201 4696

Updated Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 06:44PM