Request for Proposal
2017 Request for Source Water Grant Application Proposals

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168 KB Sourcewater RFP 2017.pdf
18 KB FactSheet.pdf
18 KB QA Accumulative.pdf

State of Nebraska
Department of Environmental Quality
1200 N Street, Suite 400
Lincoln, NE 68509
PHONE: (402) 471-2186
FAX: (402) 471-2909


Invitation for 2017
SOURCE WATER PROTECTION PROJECT PROPOSALS

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) is inviting proposals for source water protection projects. Funding is authorized through section 1452 of the Safe Drinking Water Act as administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the NDEQ and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

These funds are a potential source of support for drinking water protection projects in Nebraska. Program overview, grant process, general program information, funding priority, project requirements and format are outlined in the attached guidance.

Any questions you may have regarding this invitation must be submitted in writing, or by email to the Source Water Coordinator, to the address below no later than May 12, 2017. All questions and their answers will be posted on the NDEQ website by May 19, 2017. Proposals must be submitted to the NDEQ office in Lincoln by 4:00 PM Friday June 16, 2017. Please direct all questions and requests and proposals to:
Source Water Coordinator
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 N Street, Suite 400, The Atrium
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8922
Telephone: (402) 471-2186
Website: http://deq.ne.gov
ndeq.moreinfo@nebraska.gov


Protecting Drinking Water For Life
with the
Nebraska State Revolving Fund


NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

INVITATION FOR SOURCE WATER PROTECTION PROJECT PROPOSALS
FUNDING UNDER SECTION 1452 OF THE FEDERAL SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

ESTIMATED ANNUAL FUNDS
$100,000
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
Political subdivisions, in Nebraska, that operate a public water system having a population of 10,000 or less with groundwater sources.
Applicants will need to demonstrate serious financial hardships.
Hardship eligibility criteria:
  • MHI (Median Household Income) of the political subdivision population must be less or equal to 120% of the statewide MHI reported in the 2008-2012 ACS five-year estimate of $51,381.
  • Applicants that don’t meet the hardship eligibility may submit a financial hardship report to the Department for additional consideration justifying the grant request.
To obtain your MHI refer to your community data sheet on the AWIN page of our website: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AWIN
ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES
Projects that provide long-term benefits to drinking water quality, quantity, and/or education. Eligible projects include:
  • Contaminant source identification – research / investigation.
  • Contaminant pathway removal – includes the closure of abandoned or unused wells.
  • Contaminant removal – pollution prevention and waste reduction
  • Contaminant source management – implementation of best management practices (BMPs), ordinance development, and implementation of a Source Water or Wellhead Protection Plan.
  • Education and information sharing – workshops, brochures, meetings, and media campaigns.
  • Development of a Drinking Water Protection Management Plan which is an alternative to 9-element watershed management plans. These plans will focus on wellhead protection areas. Plans must address implementable groundwater best management practices. (For additional information please refer to the Fact Sheet attached)
INELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES
  • Activities related to the operations and maintenance of drinking water systems including: treatment, transmission, distribution, consolidation or storage.
  • Land purchases.
  • Projects that only develop a traditional Source Water or Wellhead Protection Plan and do nothing toward implementation of the plan; these plans should not be confused with a Drinking Water Protection Management Plan.
  • Projects requesting only personnel expenses.
  • Projects geared towards the security aspect of Source Water, such as security fencing and cameras.
APPLICATION DEADLINE
June 16, 2017 4pm
REQUIRED COPY
Send original proposal to the following address.

Proposals must be delivered to or received by the NDEQ office in Lincoln on or before 4:00 PM Friday June 16, 2017. Late proposals will be returned.
Mail or hand deliver applications to:
Source Water Coordinator
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 N Street, Suite 400, The Atrium
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8922
Telephone: (402) 471-2186
Facsimile and email submissions will not be accepted
Late proposals will not be accepted

Phone 402-471-2186
Toll Free: 877-253-2603

GRANT PROCESS

Project proposals will be reviewed by staff at NDEQ, Nebraska Health and Human Services, and representatives of other organizations. Projects recommended by the reviewers will be forwarded to the Director of NDEQ for approval.

Timetable:

May 12, 2017All questions regarding this invitation must be received in writing.
May 19, 2017All written questions regarding this invitation and their answers will be posted on the NDEQ website or mailed to potential applicants that specifically request such.
June 16, 2017Proposals, including a DUNS number, must be received at the NDEQ Lincoln office by 4:00 PM of this due date.
June 2017Proposals are reviewed by committee.
July 2017Projects are selected and sponsors notified. Funding is made available to begin projects pending approval of a final Project Implementation Plan and finalization of a funding agreement.

GENERAL PROGRAM INFORMATION

Source Water Protection Grants are available for proactive projects geared toward protecting Nebraska’s drinking water supplies by addressing drinking water quality, quantity and/or education. Eligible applicants are political subdivisions in Nebraska that operate a public water system, having a population of 10,000 or less with groundwater sources, and demonstrate serious financial hardships.

Rather than providing the grant to complete one task, it is preferred that grants be provided to help establish and develop comprehensive local source water protection programs, enhance cooperation and education among citizens, local government, businesses, and agricultural producers. Grants can be used for the development of a Wellhead Protection Plan, but only in conjunction with the implementation of pollution prevention tasks.

Grants cannot be used for only personnel expenses, to purchase land, or for operations and maintenance activities. In addition, activities specific to the treatment, transmission, distribution, consolidation, or storage of the drinking water system which includes mapping of the water distribution system are not eligible. Examples of projects that have previously been funded can be found on the NDEQ website: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/SWPGMain

Applicants that receive funding must adhere to EPA’s Subaward Policy, CFR §200.320, which states that procurement of services or supplies of more than $3,000 must obtain price or rate quotations from at least three qualified sources. It is suggested to obtain price or quotes prior to application submission to ensure costs remain within project budget and to expedite the start of project work.

For additional information on EPA’s Subaward Policy, please visit https://www.epa.gov/grants/grants-policy-issuance-gpi-16-01-epa-subaward-policy-epa-assistance-agreement-recipients

NEW ELIGIBLE ACTIVITY

Funding is available to develop Drinking Water Protection Management Plans which are an alternative to 9-element watershed management plans. These plans will be specific to Wellhead Protection Areas. Plans must develop implementable groundwater best management practices. The purpose of this plan is to provide an analytic framework for managing efforts to restore and protect a community’s drinking water. With the development and approval of this plan, communities may be eligible to apply for Clean Water Act section 319 Nonpoint Source Program grants to assist in the implementations of these management practices.

**For more information please refer to the Fact Sheet attached.

Project areas include:
  • Wellhead protection areas - groundwater systems,
  • Officially designated future wellhead protection areas, and
  • Populations served under these systems.

SOURCE WATER PROTECTION GRANTS Q&A

**New Q & A for 2016 RFP**
Q1. Who are eligible to apply for this grant?
A1. Starting this year, eligible applicants are public water systems operated by political subdivisions with populations of 10,000 inhabitants or less which demonstrate serious financial hardships. This includes;
  • Cities or Villages
  • Nebraska Rural Water Districts operating on their own
  • NRDs with populations of 10,000 or less that operate public water systems (As of the date of this publication, LB182 was being considered in the legislature. Passage and approval of LB182 by the legislature and the governor would change this condition, but likely not in time for this year’s grant awards.)
  • Sanitary and Improvement Districts (SIDs)
Q2. How can we determine our Median Household Income in order to demonstrate financial hardship?
A2. In order to demonstrate financial hardship, the political subdivision population must be less or equal to 120% of the statewide Median Household Income (MHI). The current statewide MHI is at $51,381. To meet this criterion, the community’s MHI must be equal to or less than $61,657. One way to determine a community’s MHI is by going to the NDEQ website (http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/AWIN) and searching for your community under the AWIN database. AWIN datasheets will provide specific information for your community which includes the MHI. You may print this sheet off and include it with your proposal.

Q3. If we have a consulting firm that we prefer to work with assist us with community projects, do we have to still obtain additional quotes from other consultants?
A3. Yes. According to EPA’s Subaward Policy, if the contract for consultant services is more than $3,000, then proper procurement of these services must be followed to ensure fair competition. Obtaining at least three quotes or price rates from comparable professional services would be adequate for the purposes of this regulation.
______________________________________________________________________________
**Questions from Previous Years**
Q4. Is there a match required?
A4. Yes. The grant will require a minimum 10% match of the total project cost.
For example: Total project cost of $10,000 = $9,000 grant + $1,000 match

Q5. Why is the security funding no longer available for this grant?
A5. The Department of Health and Human Services already administrates a Public Water Supply (PWS) Security Grant. This grant has similar requirements as the Source Water Grant but focuses primarily on PWS security. For more information on this grant please contact DHHS at (402) 471-3121.

Q4. Are applicants required to have a state-approved Wellhead Protection Plan?
A4. No. Having a state-approved Wellhead Protection Plan will give a proposal funding priority but is not required.

Q5. Can a municipality apply for a Source Water Protection grant if the community’s wellhead protection plan has not yet been completed?
A5. Yes. A completed wellhead protection plan is not a requirement for receiving Source Water grant funding.

Q6. Can the grant funds go towards funding the wellhead protection plan for one well?
A6. Funds can be used toward developing a wellhead protection plan if it is part of a larger more comprehensive plan to protect all the community’s drinking water wells or a Drinking Water Management Plan as described in the Fact Sheet.

Q7. My community has a septic system within our well head protection area that we would like to decommission. Are the expenses associated with the decommission eligible in the source water program?
A7. Yes. Decommissioning septic systems within the wellhead protection area is an eligible activity under the grant program.

Q8. We would like to apply to do two projects in the same area, is it better to submit them as two separate applications or one?
A8. It’s up to the applicant to decide whether it’s easier to combine them or submit them separately. The RFP criterion favors more well-rounded projects.

Q9. What are examples of normal operations and maintenance items which are ineligible under the Source Water Protection grant program?
A9. Examples of operations and maintenance include, but are not limited to:
Pumps for PWS Well
Variable Frequency Drive PWS Pump
Backhoe
PWS Well Transducers
SCADA System
A New PWS Well
Valves


Q10. Would the expense of looping lines to prevent low pressure be eligible under the Source Water Protection grant program?
A10. No. This activity falls under operations and maintenance and is not funded under the grant program.

Q11. Can grant money be used to connect Village water to a nearby drinking water pipeline?
A11. No. Connecting to a nearby drinking water pipeline is categorized under operations and maintenance and would not be an eligible expense.

Q12. Can Source Water Protection grant funds be used for the purchase of a back-up generator for the well’s pump?
A12. No. The back-up generator is viewed as an emergency-security measure and security projects are no longer an eligible expenditure under this program.

Q13. Can the grant funds be used to purchase GPS equipment that would be used to gather data on their water system and curb stops to develop a new map?
A13. No. In the past this was an eligible activity, however, the Department of Health and Human Services administers a grant every year that does fund these activities. It has been decided because of this, the Source Water Grant will be focused more towards protection of the source of drinking water and less on the distribution system.

Q14. Can the grant be used to pay a teacher or water operator for their role in the implementation of the grant?
A14. Yes, the funds can be used to pay a teacher, water operator, or other project administrator for their role in implementing, coordinating, or administering the project a part of a larger Source Water Protection project. Projects requesting only personnel expenses are ineligible though. Be sure the percent used for administration is reasonable to the work being done.

Q15. Is it true that any city capable of being bonded is not eligible for these grants?
A15. No. There is no eligibility restriction on cities with regard to bonding.

Q17. Can a County Health Department apply for a Source Water Protection grant?
A17. A County Health Departments are not eligible because they are not a political subdivision.

Q18. Can grant money be used to donate toward the Nebraska Rural Water Association for the services they provide for free?
A18. No. Grant funds cannot be used as a donation.

Q19. Can grant funds be used to pay for expenses associated with attending the NeRWA annual conference?
A19. No. This is not an eligible expense under the grant program.

Q20. Can the grant funds be used for administrative purposes?
A20. Administrative activities that relate specifically to the grant, and occur during the grant period, are eligible expenses. There is no set percent of the total grant funds awarded that can be used on administrative expenses. Be sure the percent used is reasonable to the work being done.

Q21. If awarded, is there any grant administration associated with the grant or is the grant just based on the application and financial transaction that takes place?
A21. General administration is required for the grant. If a proposal is awarded, the grant money is disbursed on a reimbursement basis. An administrator will need to submit reimbursement requests to the Department prior to payment of grant funds. Semi-annual reporting and a final report, with final financial details, are also required as part of award requirements.

Q22. Can we use the grant to pay for water sampling?
A22. Yes and no. Yes, if water sampling is part of a larger more comprehensive project to protect all the community’s drinking water wells or as part of a Drinking Water Management Plan as described in the Fact Sheet. No, if this is the state-required monitoring of your PWS well or intake.