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

Competitive Grant: Frequently Asked Questions
Source Water Protection

Q: Who is eligible to receive a Source Water Protection (SWP) competitive grant?
A: All community and non transient non community public water suppliers.

Q: Where does the funding come from for these grants?
A: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has received money from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment Fund to pay for the Source Water Protection Plan Implementation Grant Program.

Q: What activities are eligible?
A: Activities must focus on managing or eliminating one or more potential sources of contamination. They could either be described in a SWP plan or a sanitary survey, or recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health through correspondence with the public water supplier. Make sure you give all the necessary details on the application form - sections 1e and 1 f, and attach copies of relevant documents.

Q: Is there a time limit for spending grant money?
A: Yes, the money that is awarded during the current state fiscal year must be spent within the state biennium in which the funding was budgeted.

Q: Do we need to have an SWP plan to receive a grant?
A: You are not required to have an SWP plan in place in order to apply for this category of grants.

Q: Can I use funding that I obtained from another grant to meet the cost share requirement for a competitive grant?
A: Yes, with the exception that a source water protection plan implementation grant may not be used.

Q: Can a public water supplier submit more that one application for the same category of grant at a time?
A: The MDH will score only the first grant application that it receives.

Q: Can a public water supplier apply for more than one of the same category of grant?
A: Once a public water supplier has received final payment from the MDH for an existing grant, it is eligible to apply for another of the same category of grant.

Q: If a public water supplier receives an implementation grant, can it also apply for a competitive grant at the same time?
A: Yes, it can be awarded both an implementation and competitive grant, if the grants are not the same category, and respond to separate grant notifications.  Please note that it is not acceptable to use the plan implementation award as a cost share for the competitive grants.

Q: Who can help me determine which activities to propose for funding?
A: The planner or hydrologist who is assigned to you will help you put together an application. To find out who the planner in your area is, please see the Source Water Protection Area Planner and Hydrologist Map.

Q: How do I fill out the application?
A: In section called “work item,” describe the activity that you wish to implement. Make sure the activity refers to a source water protection measure included in the source water protection plan or is acknowledged through correspondence from MDH. For each activity that you are planning, use a separate box on the application form to describe it.  Also, be sure to include the estimated cost of performing the activity and the corresponding cost share.

Q: Do I need to sign the application form?
A: Yes, make sure you sign the application. Unsigned forms are not accepted.

Q: Can I send my application now, before I see an official announcement about the grant program?
A: No, the Minnesota Department of Health will only accept grant applications during the time period over which the notification for grant availability is posted.  The Minnesota Department of Health will notify you when a grant application period is open.

Q: Can I use the grant funds for activities that took place in the past?
A: No, the grant money can be used only for activities that will take place after all the required signatures on the grant agreement have been obtained.

Q: What happens if an application is lost in the mail or electronically?
A: MDH is not responsible for grant applications that get lost in the mail or which are not received via the internet. If we do not receive your application, you will have to reapply.

Q: Can I use staff salary as cost share?
A: No. Staff salary is not accepted as cost share.

Q: Can I use the grant funds to pay for staff salary?
A: Yes, but only if you demonstrate that the staff is not being paid for performing their regular job duties.

Q: If after I am awarded the grant I realize that I miscalculated the budget and I need more money to complete the work items, can I ask for additional money?
A: No, once the grant is awarded you can not change the grant amount or the work items that have been approved. You may have other options, like: refusing the grant and reapplying with the correct amount when a new notification is posted; contributing the difference from your own funds as cost share.

Q: Are grants awarded from the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment Fund tax exempt?
A: These grants fall under the “aid” and “assistance” category, therefore they are not taxable.

Q: Am I allowed to reallocate funds between budget lines?
A: If necessitated by the nature of the project, a grantee is allowed to reallocate up to 10% of the amount originally awarded for a given expense category to another approved category without obtaining permission from the MDH. Should the grantee find it necessary to re-budget the grant beyond the 10% reallocation allowance, a written or e-mail request must be submitted to the MDH for approval.

Q: Can I use the grant funds to pay for preparing and/or mailing the consumer confidence report?
A: No. You can use the grant funds in relation to the consumer confidence report only if you add an article or a newsletter to the regular mailing that goes to the customers.

Q: How can I include with the grant application a signed statement or acknowledgement that proves availability of funds?
A: Some options for the public water supplier to use are:

  • Provide a statement on city letterhead that 1) confirms that the city 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 that the city.
  • Add the above statement and signature/date by adding another page to the electronic grant application form and submitting it with the grant application.

A single statement can be used if it refers to all of the items that are listed on the grant application form so that an individual statement is not necessary for each item if more than one is being proposed for funding.

Q: Can I use the grant funds to pay fees for well sealing or well construction?
A: No, inspection or permitting fees will not be reimbursed.

Q: Can I apply for a competitive grant to do a replacement well if I have a naturally occurring contaminant in my water?
A: If you are a community system we recommend that you first apply for DWARF funding. If you don’t receive the DWARF funding then you can apply for a competitive grant.

Q: If I receive DWRF funding can I use it as cost share for a competitive grant?
A: No, DWRF funding can’t be used as cost share for a competitive grant.

Q:  Can I use grant funds to improve security around the well – e.g. fencing?
A:  You can use grant funds for fencing the well area. However, the State will reimburse you for maximum 400 ft of fence (approx. a 50 ft. radius around the well).

Q: Are two bids or two quotes required with the grant application?
A:  Public water supplier are not required to submit two bids/quotes with their grant application.  However, it is in their best interest to provide it whenever it is possible and practical.

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Updated Wednesday, August 09, 2017 at 04:04PM