New Hampshire ll NHDES Announces Local Source Water Protection Funding Grants [Newsletter]
NHDES ANNOUNCES LOCAL SOURCE WATER PROTECTION FUNDING GRANTS
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) offers Local Source
Water Protection Grants to help municipalities and water companies address issues resulting
from the NHDES's review of Drinking Water Source Assessment reports. Eligible entities
include water suppliers, municipalities, regional planning commissions, non-profit organizations,
county conservation districts, State agencies, and watershed associations. Successful applicants
can use grant funding to refine source delineation, inventory and evaluate potential drinking
water threats, and implement protective measures or monitoring programs. The deadline for
grant applications is generally in the fall of each year.
The grant program was especially timely this year because the NHDES completed source area
delineations and source area assessment reports that were sent out to water suppliers.
As noted in a NHDES Newsletter for the Drinking Water Source Protection Program,
The Source, “the next challenge ... is making sure the source assessments spur water suppliers
and municipalities to improve local protection programs.” The source assessment reports use
13 criteria to rate a source's vulnerability to contamination, ranging each criterion high, medium,
or low. These rankings can be viewed on-line at www.des.state.nh.us/dwspp/partl.htm.
High vulnerability marks suggest that protective measures are needed. The NHDES recently
issued a fact sheet (WD-WSEB 12-8) describing prudent responses (the fact sheet is also
available at the NHDES web site). Armed with the source assessment report and suggested
responses described in the fact sheet, water suppliers can begin to frame good grant applications.
Grant monies can also be used to address vulnerability assessment issues. Community public
water systems were currently faced with compliance deadlines for requirements of the Public
Health Security and Bioterrorism and Response Act (H.R. 3448) focusing on system security and
ability to respond to emergencies. Vulnerability assessments for systems serving between
50,000 and 99,999 people were due to the United States Environmental Protection Agency
(USEPA) by December 31, 2003 and for systems serving between 3,300 and 49,999 people by
June 30, 2004. Systems larger than 99,999 people were required to comply by March 31, 2003,
and systems serving less than 3,300 people were not required to comply. Past Local Source
Water Protection applicants have used the grants to fund fencing and alarm systems to prevent
unauthorized access and limit system vulnerability.
There are some key aspects that the applicant should focus on to prepare a winning grant
application. First, community support is essential, and letters of support from local planning
boards and other stakeholders are important application attachments. Applicants should also
provide a matching contribution; the NHDES will not fund 100 percent of the project costs.
Contributions can be monetary or through in-kind services (e.g., matching labor). Ground level
involvement by the primary stakeholders is a strong plus and is viewed like "sweat equity" in
terms of home improvement projects. Furthermore, projects involving technical data collection,
such as water quality monitoring projects, will require the preparation of Quality Assurance
Project Plans (QAPPs). QAPPs can be difficult for laymen to prepare and applicants may want
to seek assistance from an experienced consultant. It has also been our experience that the
NHDES staff is very helpful in providing guidance to potential applicants. If you have any
questions about this very useful program, please feel free to contact us.
David A. Maclean, P.G., L.S.P., L.E.P.