Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Source Water Protection Grant Guidelines

Source water protection grants are no longer
being offered due to federal funding reductions.

Section 1452 of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act provides funds for source water assessment and protection. These funds are a potential source of support for drinking water protection projects in Idaho. Approximately $100,000 is available for the 2013 grant cycle. Applicant and project eligibility and special conditions of these grant funds are described below, followed by information about project submission, evaluation, and selection.

Applicant Eligibility

The following entities are eligible to apply for source water protection grants:

  • Idaho public drinking water systems (PWSs)—A PWS has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves 25 or more people at least 60 days out of the year
  • Units and subunits of local governments
  • Special districts (including water districts or conservation districts)
  • Associations
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Educational institutions

All applicants must have and maintain general liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage. Insurance must include personal injury liability insurance, blanket contractual liability coverage for the indemnity under the grant project, and products/completed operations liability. An applicant without liability insurance may be required to obtain it before receiving grant funding and keep the insurance active for the duration of the grant contract.

PWSs officially recognized by DEQ and owned by Idaho municipalities, special service districts, and nonprofit corporations are eligible for source water protection grants. Privately owned, for-profit public drinking water systems where drinking water is not the main function of business are not eligible for funding.

PWSs applying for source water protection grant funding must be current with their drinking water fees, in accordance with IDAPA, to be eligible for funding. In addition, the PWS must not have a disapproval designation with DEQ as per IDAPA unless the reason for disapproval is reasonably outside the system’s control, such as a contamination event, and the system is actively working on the solution. Systems under a consent order or compliance agreement schedule must be current with all terms and conditions of the order to be eligible for source water protection grant funding.

Applicants cannot be awarded grants in consecutive years. An applicant awarded a source water protection grant is not eligible for funding during the next grant cycle.

Project Eligibility

Applications that do not meet the eligibility requirements are not considered for funding. Eligible projects include those associated with source water protection measures. Source water is defined as “any aquifer, surface water body, or watercourse from which water is taken either periodically or continuously by a public water system for drinking or food processing purposes” (Idaho Source Water Assessment Plan, p. 36). Source water protection efforts protect the source of drinking water prior to reaching the drinking water system.

Projects specific to the treatment, transmission, distribution, consolidation, or storage of the drinking water system are not eligible for funding. A grant cannot be used to fund personnel or purchase equipment associated with system operation and maintenance, water treatment, purchasing land, and system infrastructure upgrades or improvements (including water meters). Loans are available for system infrastructure upgrades or improvements and, under unique circumstances, land acquisition through a separate Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Projects that require long-term maintenance beyond the life of the grant are not eligible for funding.

Eligible activities include those that lead to a reduced risk of contamination of the drinking water source. Projects must contribute to improved protection of one or more public water supply sources. Projects are expected to provide long-term benefits to source water quality. Projects that implement measures to address contaminants that could impact a drinking water source are eligible for funding. Examples of eligible projects include the following:

  • Contaminant source identification (research or monitoring)
  • Contaminant pathway removal (closure of abandoned or unused wells)
  • Contaminant removal (hazardous waste collection, pollution prevention, and waste reduction)
  • Contaminant management (education and implementation of best management practices [BMPs], development and implementation of a source water protection plan [including identification of potential contaminant sources and protection strategies], and structures to divert contaminated runoff from the source)
  • Education and information sharing (brochures, workshops, and media campaigns)

Grants can be used to implement security measures as long as the project protects the source area. Projects such as the following that protect the physical extraction structure—wells, springs, or intake structures—are eligible for funding:

  • Fencing around wells or intakes. The fencing can include other buildings or tanks as long as the fenced-in area is part of the source area.
  • Gates for well and intake access roads and access control for those areas.
  • Alarms, signs, cameras, locks, and lights for sources if they are clearly related to protecting the source water area.

Funds are available for both local and regional protection projects. Local projects concentrate on a specific community PWS, while regional protection activities focus on state- or aquifer-wide protection efforts, include multiple PWSs, and address cross-jurisdictional issues.

Funds are available for both local and regional protection projects. Local projects  concentrate on protection of a specific community public water supply system while regional protection activities focus on aquifer wide protection efforts, include multiple public water systems, and address cross-jurisdictional issues.

Local Projects

Grants awarded to local projects are used to implement protection activities in existing source water protection areas, designated future source water protection areas, and in the associated communities. These grants are awarded to implement comprehensive local source water protection plans and programs. High-priority activities that have been identified and go beyond normal operation and maintenance standards and existing system infrastructure deficiencies are the intended target for grants. Eligible projects focus on community education and awareness about how to protect and improve the local drinking water source. For local projects, commitment must be demonstrated by the water supplier and/or local government(s) who own a PWS to develop, implement, support, and sustain a local protection program after funding is received.

Local projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Implement source water protection items included in a drinking water, wellhead, or watershed protection plan
  • Prevent polluted runoff from impacting source waters through BMP implementation
  • Restore and/or conserve the ecological and landscape function of source water protection areas
  • Contribute to the security of a drinking water source through the use of features such as fencing, alarms, signage, etc.1
  • Properly close abandoned or unused wells2
  • Conduct public education and raise awareness about source water protection using workshops, signs, brochures, etc.

The applicant must be the water supplier with Idaho PWS identification or have the support of the PWS for the project. Maximum funding requested for local projects should not exceed $10,000.

1 Fences installed to protect source water from livestock must meet minimum setback requirements identified in IDAPA 58.01.08. The applicant must obtain a waiver from DEQ if the setback requirements are not feasible. Fencing around new sources that have been constructed within calendar year 2013 is not eligible for funding.

2 Grant recipients who intend to abandon a well must meet the requirements of the Idaho Rules for Well Construction Standards (IDAPA 37.03.09).

Regional Projects

Grants are also available for projects that may include multiple PWSs or sources and may be regional, county, or statewide in focus. Grants are available to entities committed to doing regional work to further source water protection and deliver services or education to protect or promote source water quality, quantity, security, or awareness. Projects should include activities that enhance cooperation among citizens, local government, businesses, and agricultural producers. Projects should benefit more than one PWS or community and be transferable to other communities. For regional projects, the applying organization must have a demonstrated past and affirmed future commitment to protection of natural resources. Maximum funding requested for regional projects should not exceed $15,000.

Examples of regional projects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Eliminate polluted runoff using BMPs that fit the context of the source water area
  • Facilitate the development of a regional drinking water source protection plan or program
  • Design and conduct media campaigns
  • Hold a hazardous waste collection event (limited to start-up or initial event)
  • Develop and distribute source water protection educational materials to multiple systems or communities in a region or statewide
  • Conduct research that will benefit source water protection efforts in a region or statewide

General Project Requirements

The following requirements apply to all projects (local and regional):

  • Projects must focus on protection of drinking water sources, not operation and maintenance of the system or water treatment.
  • Although local match is not required, it is encouraged, and projects with match will be given preference. Match can be in the form of soft (“in-kind”) contributions, hard (cash) contributions, or a combination thereof.
  • Projects must be completed within a 2-year time period.
  • Project costs and applied match must comply with federal guidelines for applicable cost principles (see Office of Management and Budget circulars A-21, A-87, and A-122 available online here).
  • Construction projects over $2,000 may be required to comply with the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis-Bacon Act requires payment of locally prevailing wages (including fringe benefits) as established by the US Department of Labor (Title 40, United States Code) to laborers and mechanics on federal government contracts in excess of $2,000 for construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works who are employed directly on the site of the work. Grant recipients and their subcontractors must comply with the applicable Davis-Bacon Act requirements, specifically the provisions set forth in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 5.5). The grant recipient will be responsible for maintaining a complete set of records that documents compliance. Davis-Bacon Act requirements may not apply to grant recipients that are government agencies, or political subdivisions thereof, that perform construction work in-house with their own employees (force account labor); however, the grant recipient must provide documentation to DEQ that the Davis-Bacon Act requirement would not apply to its construction project. It is the grant recipient’s responsibility to demonstrate, upon request by DEQ, compliance with any applicable provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act associated with the grant construction project.
  • DEQ recommends that applications for projects that will require hiring a contractor (e.g., well abandonment, fencing) include project bids with their application.
  • Grant recipients will be required to complete quarterly reports until project completion. A final report and photos of completed projects may be required upon final payment.

Application Submission

The grant application period begins August 26, 2013, and ends October 25, 2013. Applicants are required to submit an electronic application. Regional projects must submit a map of the project area. Additional documents such as maps, bids, or photos can be submitted electronically with the application or mailed to DEQ at the address provided on the application. Failure to furnish the information requested disqualifies the proposal.

Evaluation and Award Process

Grant applications are reviewed and scored by designated review teams composed of DEQ regional office staff and scored based on predefined evaluation criteria and point totals. Once the applications are scored, each regional review team selects the three top scoring local projects and one top scoring regional project from each region to be reviewed by a statewide selection team. The statewide selection team is composed of one DEQ staff person from each region and the state office. After all projects have been reviewed, discussed, and scored, the team ranks the projects. Regional and local projects compete together. Approximately $100,000 is available for projects this grant cycle. Projects are awarded funding until the funding limit is reached. Selected projects are subject to final approval from the DEQ director and US Environmental Protection Agency. DEQ reserves the right to partially fund any project.

The following criteria are considered when scoring proposals:

Local Projects

  • Protection Plan: Does the project consist of or fulfill some component of a certified drinking water source protection plan?
  • Deficiencies: Have all significant deficiencies specific to the water source identified in the last sanitary survey been corrected or are being corrected in accordance with a State-approved corrective action plan?
  • Deficiencies: If all significant deficiencies have not been corrected, does the project address any deficiencies identified in the last sanitary survey or approved corrective action plan?
  • Contaminants: Does the project address existing or potential contamination sources?
  • Proximity to Source(s): Does the project address contamination sources within 500 feet of the well(s) or spring source or within 1 mile of the intake?
  • Priority Area: Is the project located in an area of ground water quality degradation (nitrate priority area), a sole source aquifer, a TMDL area, an organic or inorganic priority area, or a sensitive resource aquifer?
  • Match: Is the applicant providing match (cash or in-kind) for the project?
  • PWS Support: Does the project have the support of the PWS?
  • Financial Need: Is the project located in a county with a higher poverty rate than the Idaho average?
  • Population: Does the PWS serve a population less than 3,300?
  • Regional Priorities: Does the project address DEQ regional priorities, including but not limited to, priority areas in the region, vulnerable sources, and priority contaminants?

An additional scoring point will be added for PWS applicants that are part of IDWARN (Idaho’s Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network). IDWARN is the formalized system of "utilities helping utilities" to address mutual aid during emergency situations (see for information).

Regional Projects

  • Protection Program: Is the project part of a regional drinking water source protection program?
  • Protection Program: Does the project consist of or fulfill some component of a county, city, or regional drinking water source protection or aquifer protection plan or program?
  • Priority Area: Is the project located in an area of ground water quality degradation (nitrate priority area), a sole source aquifer, a TMDL area, an organic or inorganic priority area, or a sensitive resource aquifer?
  • Contaminants: Does the project address existing or potential contamination sources?
  • Match: Is the applicant providing match (cash or in-kind) for the project?
  • State or Regional Priorities: Does the project address state or regional priorities, including but not limited to, priority areas in region/state, vulnerable sources, and priority contaminants?

DEQ staff will evaluate proposals in early-November, after which the DEQ director will review and approve the proposals. Applicants are notified and funds made available to begin projects in December.

Staff Contacts

Source Water Program Coordinator
Amy Williams
DEQ State Office
Water Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0115

Engineering Manager
Todd Crutcher
DEQ Boise Regional Office
1445 N. Orchard St.
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0550

Engineering Manager
Gregory Eager
DEQ Idaho Falls Regional Office
900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite B
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
(208) 528-2650

Engineering Manager
Michael Camin
DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 799-4370

Engineering Manager
Tom Hepworth
DEQ Pocatello Regional Office
444 Hospital Way #300
Pocatello, ID 83201
(208) 236-6160

Drinking Water and Engineering Manager
Michael Brown
DEQ Twin Falls Regional Office
650 Addison Avenue West, Suite 110
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 736-2190

DEQ Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about Source Water Protection Grants

Local Project Example Application

Regional Project Example Application

Related Pages

Source Water in Idaho

Source Water Protection Grants

Source Water Protection Funded Projects