Source Water Protection: Plan Implementation Grant Application - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Plan Implementation Grant
Source Water Protection

Applications for this grant program are accepted between
Monday, March 2, 2020 8:00 a.m. and Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announces the availability of funding to support the implementation of source water protection plans. Source water protection plans are either 1) wellhead protection plans that have been approved by the MDH under requirements of Minnesota Rules Parts 4720. 5100 to 4720.5590, 2) MDH approved Wellhead Protection Action Plans, 3) surface water intake protection plans that have been endorsed by the MDH. The funding for source water protection (SWP) plan implementation grants is provided under Minnesota Session Laws 2019 Chapter 2, Section 8 (b).

Introduction

The Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota constitution provides funding to the MDH to establish a source water protection (SWP) implementation grant program. This program will be administered through the Drinking Water Protection Section. This notice applies to source water protection plan implementation grants which focus on assisting Public Water Suppliers (PWSs) to implement their SWP plans. Future grant availability notifications will include the two other categories of grants that constitute the source water protection implementation grant program - these are grants that will help all PWSs implement source water protection measures even though they may not have a SWP plan in place.

The fundamental goal of SWP 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 PWSs and is based on requirements in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and authorities granted to the 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.

Grant Awards

The total amount of funding that is available under this notice is $175,000. The minimum amount for any grant is $1,000 and the maximum amount is $10,000. The cap amount will be increased up to a maximum grant amount of $30,000 if three or more PWSs 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

No cost share is required for receiving a grant

Funding Period

All grant funds awarded under this 2020 Plan Implementation Spring Request for Proposals, must be expended by April 30th 2021.  Based upon availability of funds, SWP plan implementation grants will be offered annually, during the months of March and September.

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 or fax 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.

Eligibility

A SWP plan implementation grant is intended to support implementation of the drinking water protection measures that are contained in a SWP plan. Applicants shall look at their wellhead protection plan and refer on the application form to the measure(s) and objective(s) in the plan that will be supported by the grant. Only PWSs may apply for a SWP plan implementation grant but may use funding to support the work of other parties relating to the SWP plan. A PWS must meet all of the following conditions in order to qualify for a grant:

  • The PWS must have a current SWP plan or extension to the plan;
  • The PWS is not subject to administrative penalty action from MDH in regard to the Wellhead Protection Rule;
  • The PWS must have an approved Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) and work must take place only in DWSMAs that are currently active;
  • For PWSs who were awarded a SWP grant in the past: the public water system has met all of the conditions that were specified in a previous SWP implementation grant and the previous grant is closed. If conditions of a previous grant of the same type have not been met the PWS is penalized by not being allowed to participate in the next grant cycle.

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 referenced to one or more measures contained in a SWP plan. Indirect or administrative costs related to using a SWP plan implementation 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.

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.
  • Reference to the page number(s) in the SWP plan (MDH approved plan or extension, with specific measure number or objective number), NOT the Draft Copy) that identifies the SWP measure(s) to which the work applies.
  • 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.
  • If the work is for infrastructure, the application narrative description must demonstrate value in protecting the source of drinking water.

Grant funds will only pay for one Potential Contaminant Source Inventory (PCSI) per Wellhead Protection Plan duration (10 years) retroactive back to January, 2015. Only one PCSI grant application may be approved for each 10 year plan.

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.

Application Review Process

MDH will evaluate all eligible and complete applications received by the deadline. Applicants may submit a grant application either by mail, email or fax using the form provided by the MDH. Applications must be received by our office by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

Applications must be sent to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator

Mail
Minnesota Department of Health      
P.O. Box 64975                                                         
Saint 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

Fax
651-201-4701
Attention SWP Grant Coordinator

Email
Health.SWPgrants@state.mn.us

Subject line to read: "Attention: Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator, [Your Public Water System Name]"

The 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.
Upon receipt, a grant application will be assigned a time and date which will be used to place the grant on the priority for funding list once the MDH has determined the minimum score to qualify has been achieved.

Application form

You may obtain a copy of the SWP plan implementation grant application form by:

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

  • Pages from the approved Wellhead Protection Plan or Wellhead Protection Action Plan Management Strategies, or Sanitary Survey.

Health Equity

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 MHI economic characteristics for cities and townships.

Two MHI thresholds will be used; Metropolitan and Non-metropolitan, to receive funding priority independent of sequencing based on the application received date.

  1. Cities or townships located in the 11 County Metropolitan Area with MHI at or below $69,063. For the purposes of this MDH SWP Notification of Grant Availability, the 11 county Twin Cities Metropolitan counties are: Chisago, Isanti, Sherburne, Wright, Ramsey, Hennepin, Carver, Anoka, Washington, Dakota, and Scott.
  2. Cities or townships located in non-metropolitan counties with MHI incomes at or below $41,352. Nonmetropolitan counties are the other 76 Minnesota counties not listed above.

Examples:

  1. 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.
  2. For rural water systems, a weighted average of the population and MHI of each city served by the water system will be used.
  3. State or federally owned PWS are not eligible for health equity priority.

Scoring Grant Applications

The MDH uses the following methodology to score a SWP implementation grant application:

A SWP plan implementation grant application must have a minimum score of 5 points in order to be awarded. MDH determines the priority of each SWP measure that is included in a grant application using an internal grant application review criteria. Grant requests that achieve the minimum score to qualify will be placed on a waiting list and funding will be awarded based upon:

  • Date the 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 priority for a grant.

5 points are assigned to a high priority SWP measure

High priority is assigned to a SWP measure that does any of the following:

  • expands the PWSs capability to effectively manage a high risk potential contamination source that is identified in any of the following:
    • an MDH-approved wellhead protection plan or approved extension;
    • an MDH-endorsed intake protection plan; or
    • contained in a sanitary survey report that is prepared by the MDH.
  • helps meet state WHP rule requirements relating to assessing data elements (geology, well records, land use, parcel boundary, PCSI)  that are required as part of WHP plan implementation;
  • increases the PWSs capability to manage land-uses within the DWSMA;
  • builds cooperation with other PWSs and/or governmental units resulting in increased management of a specific type of potential contamination source;
    • increases the PWSs capability to respond to an interruption of its drinking water supply; or
  • helps the PWS identify groundwater or surface water contamination that may impact its drinking water supply.

3 points are assigned to a medium priority SWP measure

Medium priority is assigned to a SWP measure that does any of the following:

  • expands awareness by property owners within the DWSMA or Inner Wellhead Management Zone (IWMZ) to better manage high risk types of potential contamination sources;
  • increases the PWSs capabilities to share drinking water protection concerns with regulatory agencies; or
  • expands the PWSs capability to effectively manage a low risk potential contamination source.

2 points are assigned to a low priority SWP measure

Low priority is assigned to a SWP measure that does any of the following:

  • increases public awareness for managing potential contamination sources within the DWSMA or IWMZ;
  • helps meet MDH rule requirements relating to evaluating SWP plan implementation;
  • increases communication with local and state agencies regarding WHP concerns within the DWSMA or IWMZ;
  • recognizes fulfilling the regulations of other governmental units; or
  • addresses conceptual issues such as a new type of potential contamination source that may be constructed within the DWSMA or IWMZ.

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 the MDH. Therefore, the scoring serves to prioritize work that will provide the greatest public health benefit that is achieved using public funding. The 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.

Notification process

MDH expects to inform grant applicants of the scoring results by the end of April, 2020. 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 time and date that was assigned to their application when it was received by the MDH. The award decisions of MDH are final and not subject to appeal. Applicants may be required to provide additional information for the work to be performed, including a detailed estimate invoice showing specific materials, labor, time, etc.

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 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.

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 implementation 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.
  • The total amount of grant funds that were expended to perform each work item.
  • A summary of the costs that are attributed to performing each work item.

Application requirements will be listed in the grant agreement, based on the nature of the project.

Application Questions

Questions regarding Plan Implementation Grant Application should be directed to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator
651-201-4576
health.swpgrants@state.mn.us

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Updated Friday, 14-Feb-2020 11:25:38 CST