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Drinking Water Tribal Set-Aside (DWTSA) Program

Grants to Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Northern
Mariana Islands, and Guam Tribes to Improve Public Drinking Water

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9

Deadline Date:

11/20/20 Receipt

Description:

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Grants to Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam federally recognized tribes to improve public drinking water. Funding is intended to address public health hazards caused by inadequate infrastructure. Grants may be awarded directly to tribes or through interagency agreements with the Indian Health Service.

Infrastructure projects funded through the DWTSA must address the most significant threats to public health associated with public water systems that serve tribal populations. Examples of eligible activities include:

  • Rehabilitate/develop sources (excluding reservoirs, dams, water rights);
  • Install or upgrade treatment facilities;
  • Install or upgrade storage facilities, including finished water reservoirs;
  • Install or replace transmission and distribution pipes;
  • Replace aging infrastructure if replacement is needed to maintain compliance or further the health protection goals of the SDWA;
  • Install new transmission, distribution or service lines to connect existing homes to a public water supply;
  • Water efficiency projects (e.g., installation of meters);
  • Expansion, consolidation or development of a new public water system (limited circumstances,); and
  • Develop preliminary engineering reports (PERs).

Addendum 99-1 to the national guidelines allows funding for the creation of new community water systems to address existing public health problems caused by unsafe drinking water provided by individual wells or surface water sources. The policy also allows the creation of new regional community water systems which consolidate several existing systems that have technical, financial, or managerial difficulties. According to the national guidelines, new systems may be funded only if the following conditions are met:

  • Options for connection with adjacent public water systems have been fully explored and deemed unreasonable by the EPA Region;
  • Upon completion of the project, the entity created must meet the federal definition of a community water system;
  • Funding is limited to projects where an actual public health problem exists with documented health risks;
  • The project must be limited in scope to the specific geographic area affected by the health risk; and
  • The project can only be sized to accommodate a reasonable amount of growth expected over the life of the facility - growth cannot be a substantial portion of the project.

DWTSA funding can also be used to develop a preliminary engineering report, and for work to secure rights of way (though DWTSA funds cannot be used to purchase real property).

The national guidelines also allow EPA to consider funding unscheduled “emergency” projects after EPA uses its prioritization method to rank projects for a year. Such projects can include those where some type of failure was unanticipated or the result of natural disaster or an emergency and may require immediate attention to protect public health. In these cases, EPA has the authority to fund the emergency project provided it meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Tribal Set Aside Program.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163446

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$7,000,000

Number of Grants:

Based on experience from previous years, EPA estimates that eight to twelve construction projects and four to five planning projects may be selected for funding.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Projects may range in size from $30,000 to over $2 million.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Only federally recognized Indian tribes within EPA Region 9 may submit proposals that benefit eligible public water systems (PWS). Region 9 covers the States of Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada as well as the Pacific Islands of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

PWS eligibility is limited as follows:
- Only public water systems that are community water systems or non-profit, non-community water systems are eligible to receive funding;
- The water system must serve an Indian Tribe;
- The water system must be in compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations unless the project which is being funded will ensure compliance;
- The water system must be operated by adequately trained and certified operators.
- The water system utility must have or be able to develop the technical, financial and managerial capacity to properly maintain the water system.

More information about these restrictions can be found at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-09/documents/epa-r9-fy21-dwtsa-guidance-2020-09-16.pdf#page=8.

A list of projects that cannot be funded through the program can be found at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-09/documents/epa-r9-fy21-dwtsa-guidance-2020-09-16.pdf#page=5.

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- November 20, 2020: EPA must receive proposals by this date, including the proposal form, tribal government endorsement, and preliminary engineering reports (PERs) or planning project proposals with supporting documents. Proposals received after November 20, 2020 will not be considered for funding. E-mail one electronic copy of the proposal and any documentation to: Nancy Sockabasin.
- January 2021: EPA will notify each applicant of the draft proposal priority and whether the project is selected to continue with the application process.
- March 2021: Applicants can submit comments on the draft prioritization. For projects selected to continue with the application process, applicants must submit responses to any EPA comments, and submit any additional documentation or endorsements that EPA requests.
- April-August 2021: EPA notifies applicants of the final ranking and funding decision, along with guidance letters for projects to be funded by grant.
- May-August 2021: Tribe submits grant application, or Indian Health Service submits draft Memorandum of Agreement and signed Project Summary (exact dates will be included in funding decision notification letters).
- September 2021: EPA awards funds for selected projects.

Matching funds are not typically required; however, in cases where commercial entities and/or non-tribal populations receive water from the public water system, EPA may require the tribe to provide a funding contribution proportional to the water demand of the commercial entity and/or non-tribal populations. Similarly, for projects whose costs are correlated with water usage, a funding contribution may be required for water systems using over 150 gallons per capita per day, with the contribution proportional to the amount over 150 gallons per capita per day used. Additionally, given the limited funds available under this program and EPA’s goal to maximize the number of projects it can fund, EPA may work with applicants to explore the availability of funding from other federal agencies, tribal or third-party sources to contribute to the total project cost.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

E-mail one electronic copy of the proposal and any documentation to: Nancy Sockabasin, sockabasin.nancy@epa.gov.

For general information about this program, please contact:
Nancy Sockabasin
Drinking Water Tribal Set-Aside Program Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
75 Hawthorne Street (WTR-4)
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-972-3458

Grant Coverage Areas:

Map of eligible Tribal lands in Region 9: https://www.epa.gov/tribal/tribal-lands-epas-region-9

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Arizona;   California;   Hawaii;   Nevada

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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