Source Water Grant Application



I. Introduction

A. Invitation for source water protection project proposals.

This document constitutes an invitation for eligible organizations to submit proposals for source water protection projects to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for funding under Section 1452 of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Approximately $100,000 annually is available for project funding. There is no minimum funding request and maximum dollar limit for requests should not exceed $10,000 for local projects and $20,000 for regional projects.

B. Background

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. Project eligibility and special conditions of these grant funds are described in this invitation.

C. Selection Process

Project proposals will be reviewed by staff at DEQ and ranked based on identified selection criteria (see section V). Projects recommended by the reviewers will be forwarded to the Director of DEQ for approval. Projects are subject to final approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and availability of funds is dependent upon receipt of the annual State Revolving Fund Capitalization Grant.

D. Timetable


Grant application period opens.


All questions regarding this invitation must be received in writing by DEQ. Applications available at


All questions regarding this invitation and their answers will be posted on the DEQ website or mailed to potential applicants who specifically request it.


Deadline for submitting applications.


DEQ staff reviews and ranks proposals.


Selected projects are sent to the Director of DEQ for approval.


Applicants are notified. Funding is made available to begin projects.

II. Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants include Idaho public water systems officially recognized by DEQ; units and subunits of local governments; special districts (including water districts or conservation districts); associations; non-profit organizations; and educational institutions.

All applicants must have and maintain general liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage. This insurance shall include personal injury liability insurance; blanket contractual liability coverage for the indemnity under the grant project and products/completed operations liability. If the applicant does not have liability insurance, they may be required to obtain liability insurance prior to receiving the grant funding and keep it active for the duration of the grant contract.

Public water systems (PWS) applying for a 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 be in disapproved status with DEQ as per IDAPA A PWS with disapproved status can be considered, however, if 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. PWS that are under a consent order or a compliance agreement schedule shall be current with all terms and conditions of the order to be eligible for Source Water Protection Grant funding.

III. Project Eligibility

Types of projects that are eligible for funding include those that are 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, pg 36). Source water protection includes efforts that 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 can not be used to fund personnel or purchase equipment associated with system operation and maintenance, water treatment, purchasing land, 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 the reduction in risk of contamination of the drinking water source. Projects must contribute to improved protection of one or more public water supply sources. Projects will be 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, including:

  • Contaminant source identification (research)
  • 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), structures to divert contaminated runoff from the source)
  • Education and information sharing (brochures, workshops, media campaigns)

Grants can be used to implement security measures as long as the project protects the source area. Projects that protect the physical extraction structure - well, spring or intake structures are eligible for funding. Projects can include:

  • 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.

Applications that do not meet the eligibility requirements will not be considered for funding.

Funds are available for both local and regional protection projects. Local projects will 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.

  A. Local Projects

Local grants will be used to implement protection activities in existing source water protection areas, designated future source water protection areas, and in the associated communities. Local grants will be awarded to implement comprehensive local source water protection plans and programs. Highly prioritized 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 will educate the community and build community awareness of how to protect and improve its drinking water source.

Local projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Implement source water protection items included in a drinking water, wellhead or watershed protection plan
  • Prevent polluted runoff with established practices from impacting source waters
  • 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 fencing1, alarms, signage, etc.
  • Proper closure of 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 public water system identification or have the support of the public water system for the project. Maximum funding requested for local projects should not exceed $10,000.

1Fences 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 they are unable to meet the setback requirements.

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

  B. Regional/Non Area-Specific Projects

Regional grants are available for projects that may include multiple public water systems or sources and may be regional, county, or state wide in focus. Grants are available to entities committed to doing regional work to further the progress of 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 that one public water system or community and be transferable to other communities. Maximum funding requested for regional projects should not exceed $20,000

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

  • Eliminate polluted runoff using best management practices 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 distribe 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
IV. General Project Requirements
  1. Projects must focus on protection of drinking water sources, not operation and maintenance of the system or water treatment.

  2. For local projects, commitment must be demonstrated by the water supplier and/or local government(s) who owns a public water system to develop, implement, support and sustain a local protection program after funding is received. A public water system (PWS) has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves 25 or more people at least 60 days out of the year. For regional projects, the applying organization must have a demonstrated past and affirmed future commitment to protection of natural resources

  3. Local match is not required; however it is encouraged and projects with match will be given preference. Match can be in the form of soft (“in-kind”), hard (cash), or a combination thereof.

  4. Projects must be completed within a two (2) year time period.

  5. Project costs and applied match must comply with federal guidelines for applicable cost principles (see OMB circulars A-21, A-87 and A-122 available on-line at

  6. 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 document 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 their construction project. It shall be the grant recipient’s responsibility to demonstrate, upon request by DEQ, compliance with any applicable provisions of the Davis Bacon Act associated with the loan construction project. More information on Davis-Bacon Act qualifications and requirements is available online at
V. Selection Procedures
  A. Selection criteria

The following criteria will be considered when ranking the proposal:


1. 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 to an approved correction action plan?
  • Deficiencies: Does the project address any deficiencies identified in the last sanitary survey or approved correction 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), spring source or within one (1) mile of the intake?
  • Priority Area: Is the project located in an area of ground water quality degradation (nitrate priority area), sole source aquifer, TMDL, organic or inorganic priority area, or sensitive resource aquifer?
  • Match: Is the applicant providing match for the project? (Match can be cash or in-kind).
  • PWS Support: Does the project have the support of the public water system?
  • Financial Need: Is the project located in a county with a higher poverty rate than the Idaho average?
  • Population: Does the PWS system serve a population less than 3,300?
  • Regional Priorities: Including but not limited to, priority areas in region, vulnerability of source, types and priority of contaminants addresses, quality and need of the project, etc.
  • An additional point will be added for PWS applicants that are part of IDWARN. IDWARN is the formalized system of "utilities helping utilities" to address mutual aid during emergency situations (see  for information).

2. Regional Projects

  • Protection Program: Is the project part of a regional drinking water protection program?
  • Protection Program: Does the project consist of or fulfill some component of a county, city or regional drinking water 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, TMDL area, organic or inorganic priority area or sensitive resource aquifer?
  • Contaminants: Does the project address existing or potential contamination sources?
  • Match: Is the applicant providing cash or in-kind match for the project? (Match can be cash or in-kind).
  • State or Regional Priorities: Including but not limited to, priority areas in region/state, vulnerability of source, types and priority of contaminants addresses, quality and need of project.
  B. Selection process

Grant proposals will be 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 will select 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 will be composed of one DEQ staff person from each region and the state office. After all projects have been reviewed and discussed, the team will rank the projects. Regional and local projects will compete together. Approximately $100K will be available for projects this grant cycle. Total points will be calculated and projects will be awarded funding until the funding limit is reached. Selected projects will be subject to final approval from the DEQ director and EPA. DEQ reserves the right to partially fund any project.

VI. Proposal Submission

Applicants are required to submit the following information. Failure to furnish the information requested by the date indicated will disqualify the proposal.

A. Electronic Project Proposal Application
Proposals can be completed and submitted electronically at Proposals must be submitted online by March 23, 2012. If you do not have Internet access, please contact DEQ and a paper application will be mailed to you. Facsimile proposals will not be accepted.

B. Signed Hard Copy
Applicants are required to mail or deliver a signed copy of the proposal by March 23, 2012. Once online applications have been completed, they must be printed, signed and delivered or mailed (postmarked) by March 23, 2012 to the following:

Idaho Dept. of Environmental Quality
Attn: Amy Williams
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706

C. Project Area Map
Regional Projects must submit a map of the project area, showing the region that will be affected. If the project is not area-specific or can not be identified on a map, please state in the project description of the application.

VII. Special Instructions

A. Procuring and Contracting Agency.
The DEQ is the sole point of contact for all aspects of the invitation. Any questions you may have regarding this invitation must be submitted in writing (e-mail is acceptable) no later than February 17, 2012. All questions and their answers will be posted on the DEQ website by March 2, 2012. If you do not have internet access and would like a copy of the questions and answers mailed to you, you must make this request in writing by February 17, 2012. Please direct all questions and requests to:

Amy Williams, Source Water Program Coordinator
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
Telephone: (208) 373-0115

© 2019 Idaho Department of Environmental Quality