Public Water System Planning Grants
DEQ's Drinking Water Planning Grant Program provides assistance to eligible public drinking water systems for facility planning projects designed to ensure safe and adequate supplies of drinking water. Grants awarded under this program are used to develop engineering reports identifying the most cost-effective, environmentally sound method of upgrading a public drinking water system to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. Grants cover up to 50% of eligible planning costs, with a matching share funded by local sources.
Drinking water planning grants are available to community water systems (serve at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serve at least 25 year-round residents) and nonprofit, noncommunity public water systems (serve the public but do not serve the same people year-round). These classifications include most systems owned by Idaho municipalities, special water districts, and associations.
Grants are not provided to systems without the financial capability to pay the nongrant share of a planning project or to those that are delinquent in payment of the annual state drinking water fee assessment.
Once each year, DEQ contacts eligible systems to solicit interest in applying for a planning grant. Those who are interested in applying for a planning grant must submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to DEQ. The LOIs are evaluated, rated, and ranked by DEQ for inclusion on the next annual priority list. Rating criteria focus on potential public health risks, to what extent the planning process will address the long-term viability of the system (i.e., sustainability), and the status of the system’s compliance with state and federal regulations. The highest rankings are given to projects that DEQ has determined will most improve the waters of the state, ensure system sustainability, and best protect public health.
The highest rated projects for which funding exists will be invited to submit a planning grant application. The number of grants offered each year is limited to available funding. Systems selected to receive grants are required to hire a professional engineer to survey the existing condition of the system, develop and screen alternatives to enable the system to meet future needs, select a recommended alternative, and evaluate the potential environmental impacts. An environmental information document is required for all grant recipients, and the recipient may be required to develop and implement mitigation measures as the drinking water project moves into design and construction.
Each year the DEQ prepares a priority list defining how it intends to allocate resources for drinking water facilities planning. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 priority list was reviewed and adopted by the Board of Environmental Quality in May 2017.