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Environmental Health Division
Plan Implementation Grant
Source Water Protection
Notification of grant availability
Applications for this grant program are not being accepted at this time.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announces the availability of funding to support the implementation of Source Water Protection (SWP) plans. SWP plans are, 1) wellhead protection plans that have been approved by MDH under requirements of Minnesota Rules Parts 4720. 5100 to 4720.5590, or 2) MDH approved wellhead protection action plans, or 3) surface water intake protection plans that have been endorsed by MDH. The funding for SWP plan implementation grants is provided under Minnesota Session Laws 2023, Regular Session, HF 1999, Article 2, Section 7.
SWP activities are funded by Clean Water Fund appropriations approved by the Legislature. MDH uses these funds, in part, to establish a SWP Implementation Grant program. This program is administered through the Drinking Water Protection Section. This notice applies to SWP plan implementation grants which focus on assisting Public Water Suppliers (PWSs) to implement their SWP plans. Additional grant availability notifications will include the SWP transient and competitive grant categories. These are grants that will help all PWSs implement SWP measures even though they may not have a SWP plan in place.
The fundamental goal of SWP is to provide long term, sustainable management of drinking water sources. SWP applies to all types of PWSs 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.
The total amount of funding that is available under this notice is $205,000. The minimum amount for any grant is $1,000 and the maximum amount is $10,000. Joint applications must identify which applicant will serve as fiscal agent and include a letter of support from the other PWS(s).
No cost share is required for receiving a plan implementation grant.
All grant funds awarded under this FY 2023 SWP Plan Implementation Fall Request for Proposals, must be expended by December 15, 2024. 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.
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) 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, unless the work involves public education, exploratory work for new wells, or sealing of old municipal wells;
- 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 for each grant program (Plan Implementation, Transient, Competitive) 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 obtain a cost estimate whenever it is possible and practical.
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 surface water intake plan.
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 the Management Strategy/Measure number in the MDH SWP approved plan (not the draft copy) or intake protection plan, that will be supported by this work item. Attach the page(s) that contain(s) the SWP strategy /measure.
- 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; and
- 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.
Activities not fundable include:
- Activities that are not protecting the source of drinking water
- Activities that are already completed
- Routine maintenance/operation of infrastructure or public water supply system
- Illegal activities (do not meet state/local construction requirements)
- Construction permits or fees; well sealing fees payable to MDH
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 MDH. Applications must be received by our office by 4:30 p.m. Friday, September 29, 2023.
Applications must be sent to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator
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
Attention SWP Grant Coordinator
Subject line to read: "Attention: Source Water Protection 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.
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 MDH has determined the minimum score to qualify has been achieved.
You may obtain a copy of the SWP plan implementation grant application form by:
- Contacting the person listed above;
- Downloading the form that is included with this announcement;
- Downloading from Source Water Protection Grants webpage;
- To request application form document in a different format please call Section Receptionist: 651-201-4700;
- Contact the MDH Planner and Hydrologist Districts (PDF) or Community Public Water Supply Unit (PDF), or Minnesota Rural Water Association: MRWA Staff (PDF) Source Water Specialists;
- See Drinking Water Protection Contacts website for district maps and contact information.
Scoring grant applications
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 quality will be placed on a waiting list and funding will be awarded based upon:
- Health Equity criteria (see below)
- Date placed on the list
- Availability of grant funds
All awarded grant applicants that meet the health equity criteria shall be given priority for a grant.
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 2017-2021 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.
- Cities or townships located in the 14 County Metropolitan Area with MHI at or below $87,427. 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 $64,817. 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 city 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.
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-approved wellhead protection action plan;
- an MDH-endorsed intake protection plan; or
- contained in a sanitary survey report that is prepared by the MDH or local delegated authorities.
- 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 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.
MDH expects to inform grant applicants of the scoring results by the end of October 2023. 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 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.
- Invoice and narrative report.
Application requirements will be listed in the grant agreement, based on the nature of the project.
Questions regarding Plan Implementation Grant Application should be directed to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator
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