Planning grants of up to $25,000 are available to Nebraska’s publicly-owned water supply systems serving populations of less than 10,000. The state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund established the Preliminary Engineering Report Planning Grant program to help small public systems analyze their operations, and develop technically and financially effective strategies to ensure they continue to comply with drinking water regulations and provide clean drinking water to their communities.
Amounts available -- The maximum amount of grants for individual communities is $15,000 per system, and the community is required to contribute 10% of the cost. Grants have also become available for regional public water systems that serve more than one community. The maximum amount for these regional grants is $25,000, and the regional system is required to contribute 20% of the cost.
How can the funds be used? Communities and regional systems can use these funds to hire consultants to assess the current system and develop strategies for the future. This Preliminary Engineering Report can assess whether the current infrastructure is adequately addressing regulatory requirements, and provide recommendations for what actions should be taken in the future. An important focus of these assessments is to determine how a small community can make the most effective use of limited financial resources, to ensure their community is provided clean drinking water.
What communities are considered for these grants? Any city, town, village, sanitary improvement district, natural resource district, or other public body created by or pursuant to state law having jurisdiction over a public water supply system may be eligible. Privately-owned water supply systems are not eligible for assistance.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and NDEQ determine which communities are eligible for these grants, based on information that communities send to the state in an annual DWSRF Needs Survey. These surveys are sent to communities every fall, and are due to the state by December 31st each year. The state evaluates these Needs Surveys to establish communities’ rankings in the Intended Use Plan of the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund. Then, the state selects the most likely candidates that would be eligible, and sends them applications for the planning grants. It should be noted that the state awards planning grants to communities that intend to follow through with the plans’ recommendations, and will be seeking Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans to accomplish these goals.
Who to Contact: E-mail -- NDEQ.SRF@Nebraska.gov; phone – (402) 471-3193
Nebraska Safe Drinking Water Act and Regulations Governing Public Water Supply Systems, as encompassed in Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Title 179: Public Water Supply Systems (web address: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/reg/t179.htm) *
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