Source Water Protection
Notification of Grant Availability
Applications for this grant program are accepted between
Thursday, April 1, 2021 8:00 a.m. and Friday, April 30, 2021 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 (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 Minnesota Session Laws 2019, 1st Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 8.
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. In Minnesota, SWP is divided into wellhead protection that focuses on 1) groundwater that is used for PWS and 2) intake protection that focuses on surface water that is used for PWS.
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 or 3) MDH approved action plans. 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.
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).
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.
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.
All of the funds that are awarded under this 2021 Competitive Spring Request for Proposals, must be expended by April 30, 2022. 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 one of the following:
- Referenced to one or more measures contained in a MDH approved SWP plan or extension to the plan
- Identified by MDH through formal correspondence with the PWS (most recent sanitary survey)
- NOV / APO with compliance agreement
- Project evaluation form
Indirect or administrative costs related to using a SWP competitive grant are not eligible. Fundable activities involve costs that are associated with implementing and completing the project.
The work to be performed must meet applicable state regulations, particularly plan review and inspection requirements.
No PWS is required to submit two bids/quotes with their grant application, but it is in their best interest to obtain a cost estimate whenever it is possible and practical.
No equipment is to be purchased and no construction is to take place until 1) the construction plans have been reviewed and approved by MDH (if appropriate) and 2) a grant agreement is signed by MDH.
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.
Activities not fundable include:
- Activities that are not protecting drinking water
- Activities that are already completed
- Routine maintenance/operation of infrastructure
- Illegal activities (do not meet state/local construction requirements)
- Construction permits or fees; well sealing fees payable to MDH
- Indirect or administrative costs related to using a SWP competitive grant
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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., April 30, 2021. Applications must be sent to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator
Minnesota Department of Health
P.O. Box 64975
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0975
Hand Deliver between business hours; Monday to Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.:
625 Robert Street North;
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101
Attention Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator
Subject Line to read: “Attention: SWP Grant Coordinator, [Your Public Water System Name]”
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.
You may obtain a copy of the SWP competitive grant application form by:
- Contacting the Grants Coordinator
- Downloading the form that is included with this announcement
- Downloading from Source Water Protection Grants webpage
- Contacting the MDH Planner and Hydrologist Districts (PDF), or Community Public Water Supply Unit (PDF), or Noncommunity Public Water Supply Unit Field Staff and Districts (PDF), or local delegated programs, or Minnesota Rural Water Association staff Source Water Specialists
- See Drinking Water Protection Contacts website for MDH district maps and contact information
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 or MRWA staff).
The vision of MDH for health equity in Minnesota is where all communities are thriving and all people have what they need to be healthy. One determinant of community health is available financial resources. The SWP Grant program will use Median Household Income (MHI), aggregated by city or township, to assess financial need. PWS operating at or below the MHI threshold shall be considered to meet the health equity criteria.
The SWP grant program will use the United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2015-2019 MHI economic characteristics for cities and townships, which can be found at American Community Survey (ACS).
Two MHI thresholds will be used; Metropolitan and Non-metropolitan, to receive funding priority independent of sequencing based on the application received date.
- Cities or townships located in the 14 County Metropolitan Area with MHI at or below $80,407. For the purposes of this MDH SWP Notification of Grant Availability, the 14 county Twin Cities Metropolitan counties are: Chisago, Isanti, Sherburne, Wright, Ramsey, Hennepin, Carver, Anoka, Washington, Dakota, Le Sueur, Mille Lacs, Sibley, and Scott.
- Cities or townships located in non-metropolitan counties with MHI incomes at or below $59,548. Nonmetropolitan counties are the other 73 Minnesota counties not listed above.
- City or township MHI would be used for PWS located within that city or township. If the MHI is less than or equal to the metropolitan or non-metropolitan MHI (dependent upon location as noted above), they would be eligible for a health equity priority.
- For rural water systems, a weighted average of the population and MHI of each city served by the water system will be used.
- State or federally owned PWS are not eligible for health equity priority.
Scoring Grant Applications
Grant applications are scored using a standard set of questions and associated point values.
The total score for each grant 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 on the list
- Health equity criteria (see below)
- Availability of grant funds
All awarded grant applicants that meet the health equity criteria shall be given a priority point.
A grant application will only apply to the grant notification under which it was submitted. Therefore, if a community or nontransient noncommunity PWS does not receive a grant under this announcement, it must reapply.
MDH will assign points based upon the following grant review questions:
- 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, MDH approved action plan, MDH endorsed surface water intake protection plan, or MDH approved extension
- Project evaluation form - This form will be filled out by MDH staff, Minnesota Rural Water Association staff, or local delegated program assigned to the district where the PWS is located. The applicant has to contact the designated MDH staff before submitting the application, and must include the completed evaluation form with the grant 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)
- 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.
- 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)
- 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
- 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 potential contaminant 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
- Preventative action to avoid water quality problems 5 points
- DWSMA - 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
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The minimum score to be placed on the grant award list is 25 points.
The maximum score that can be achieved is 60 points with an additional, potential, maximum of 61 points when the Health Equity priority point is applicable.
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.
Public Data Statement
Application information is considered “public” upon grant evaluation and notification.
MDH expects to inform grant applicants of the scoring results by the end of May, 2021. 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.
Grant Management Responsibilities
If awarded a grant, no work should begin until all required signatures have been obtained on the grant agreement, and the grantee receives an executed and signed copy of the grant agreement. Any costs associated with work conducted prior to a fully executed grant agreement will not be reimbursed.
Each grantee must formally enter into a grant agreement. The grant agreement will address the conditions of the award, including implementation for the project. Once the grant agreement is signed, the grantee is expected to read and comply with all conditions of the grant agreement.
No work on grant activities can begin until a fully executed grant agreement is in place.
The funded applicant will be legally responsible for assuring implementation of the work plan and compliance with all applicable state requirements including worker’s compensation insurance, nondiscrimination, data privacy, budget compliance, and reporting.
Allocation of the Grant Award
The PWS will be reimbursed once all 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.
Questions regarding grant application should be directed to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator
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