Source Water Protection: Noncommunity Transient Grants - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Noncommunity Transient 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 source water protection grants for noncommunity transient public water systems. Noncommunity transient systems are defined as public water systems (PWS) that serve at least 25 people at least 60 days of the year, but do not serve the same 25 people over that period of time. Source water protection (SWP) activities that are funded under this grant program must support measures that address a potential contamination source that presents a high risk to a source of drinking water as determined by MDH. The funding for noncommunity transient systems grants is provided under Minnesota Session Laws 2019 Chapter 2, Section 8 (b).


The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota constitution provides funding to MDH to establish a source water protection (SWP) noncommunity transient PWS 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 public water systems 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 for noncommunity transient PWSs that will help implement SWP measures that must address a public health risk 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 $250 and the maximum amount is $10,000 and requires an equal cost share. However, when more than one qualifying noncommunity transient PWSs apply 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. 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 is required for receiving a grant. Cost sharing is subject to an audit and must be allowable under cost principles and verifiable to records.

A PWS can use their own financial resources or funding obtained from a private or federal grant to meet the cost share requirement for a transient grant. The following may not be used as cost share for a transient grant: Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF) money, another state grant, or another Clean Water Fund grant.

Funding Period

All grant funds awarded under this 2020 SWP Transient Spring Request for Proposals, must be expended by April 30th 2021.  Based upon availability of funds, noncommunity transient system SWP 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 will be by written or fax noticed to the grantee within a reasonable time. 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 noncommunity transient competitive grant is intended to support implementation of the SWP measures that address a potential source of contamination exhibiting a high risk that is recognized by MDH either 1) in a sanitary survey or 2) through corrective actions relating to monitoring for a contaminant that may result in an acute public health concern.

A PWS must meet the following conditions in order to qualify under this notice:

  • Be a noncommunity transient PWS and
  • 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 may apply for a grant to implement the actions scheduled in the compliance agreement.

Each eligible noncommunity transient 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 identified as a corrective action in a MDH-prepared sanitary survey.
  • Needs to correct an acute public health concern that has been identified by monitoring of the drinking water.

Indirect or administrative costs related to using a SWP transient 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 do so whenever it is possible and practical.

Grant money can only be used for:

  • Design/development costs (engineer, plumber, well contractor)
  • Material costs, treatment equipment, well casing, piping
  • Salaries of plumbers, well contractor, laborers for installation of well, treatment equipment, well sealing, and water service line.

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

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

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. Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

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

651 201- 4701
Attention: Source Water Protection 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. 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 waiting list once MDH has determined the minimum score to qualify has been achieved.

Applications received after the deadline will be disqualified from consideration.

Application Form

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

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

  • 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). The MDH sanitarian or local program assigned to your district of the state can help you put together an application.

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 for transient systems. 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 Nonmetropolitan counties with MHI incomes at or below $41,352. Nonmetropolitan counties are the other 76 Minnesota counties not listed above.


  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 an additional health equity priority point.
  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 a health equity priority point.

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 noncommunity transient PWS does not receive a grant under this announcement, it must reapply.

MDH will assign points based upon the following grant review questions:

  1. Is supporting documentation attached to the application? If not, the grant review cannot proceed further. Applicant must have at least one of these:
    • Sanitary survey
    • Project evaluation form
    • NOV with Project evaluation form
    • APO with compliance agreement and Project evaluation form
      • Note: The Project evaluation form must be completed by the MDH staff or local program assigned to the district where the PWS is located. The applicant must contact the designated MDH staff before submitting the application.
  2. Is the work that is to be performed described in enough detail with associated costs so that MDH can clearly communicate to the public how the money is being spent to protect drinking water? 0 to 20 points
  3. Will the grant result in correcting an acute public health concern? Non-acute contaminants will be considered but at a lower priority. 0 to 35 points

The 35 points will be awarded based on the following priorities:

A. Contaminant of public health concern (0 to 15 points):

  • Acute microbial:
    • Surface water, E. coli, treatment technique (turbidity, chlorine contact) 15 points
    • Groundwater, groundwater under the direct influence (GUDI), E. coli, or history of E. coli 15 points
    • Public health exposure risk (failed subsurface sewage treatment system or sewer line) 15 points
  • Groundwater, total coliform 10 points
  • High microbial risk (Groundwater Rule assessment monitoring) 10 points  
  • Acute chemical (nitrate/nitrite, fuel, agricultural chemicals, solvents) 10 points
  • Nonacute contaminants (arsenic, volatile organic compounds, etc) 5 points

B. Method of correction (0 to 10 points):

  • Consolidation/connection to a community PWS 10 points
  • Alternative water supply, construction of a new well, repairing existing well 10 points
  • Treatment surface water or groundwater under the direct influence of a surface water source 10 points
  • Removal of potential contamination source 10 points
  • Management of potential contamination source 5 points
  • Treatment groundwater source 5 points
  • Sealing existing well(s) 5 point

C. Water Quantity (0 to 10 points):

  • Water quantity issues related to the source (not a growing business need)
  • Preventative actions to avoid water quantity issues

Scoring Results

The minimum score required to be placed on the grant award list is 30 points.

The maximum score that can be awarded from questions 2 and 3 (A,B,C) is 55 points. 56 points are possible, when the additional 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 PWS 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.

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 score and 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 noncommunity transient 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 Noncommunity Transient Grant Application should be directed to:
Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator

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Updated Friday, 14-Feb-2020 11:24:18 CST