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DEEP Section 319 Request for Proposals for Non-Point Source Pollution

General Eligibility and Focus

Currently, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is not accepting proposals for the Clean Water Act Section 319 grants. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Request for Proposals was opened on November 5, 2021 and closed on January 14, 2021, proposals received during this process are currently under review.  Federal approval and grantee notice of FY 2021 awards is anticipated in summer 2021. Please sign-up to receive future notices.

Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act is a federal program to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. Connecticut receives funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Section 319 grants that can be passed onto communities, local conservation groups, and other organizations for NPS implementation projects, plans, and statewide NPS management efforts. Proposals may be submitted by any interested public or private organization. Applicants should recognize DEEP is interested in awarding project funding to five to ten larger projects rather than many small projects.

EPA defines NPS pollution as pollution that is caused by diffuse sources that are not regulated as point sources, and are normally associated with land use and runoff from the land. Common NPS pollutants include: bacteria, nutrients, sediment, salt, petroleum products, heavy metals, pesticides, and debris. These pollutants are typically carried by stormwater runoff into streams, lakes, and estuaries from diffuse land use and other activities that are not regulated as point source discharges (end of pipe). Projects intended to meet mandated requirements of stormwater permits are not eligible for Section 319 grants. However, proposals that provide stormwater mitigation above and beyond permit requirements may be considered.

Applications that include financial or in kind contributions demonstrate a commitment to the project that is considered by DEEP when ranking applications. In recent years, DEEP was able to cover the 40% match requirement for the Section 319 NPS grant by using state dollars for other NPS projects, but, commitments of non-federal match are encouraged.

DEEP recommends that applicants consult with a DEEP Watershed Manager before proposing any project.

An example of the application for the Section 319 Grant Program is available here: FY 2021 DEEP Section 319 Grant application. Any questions for the CT DEEP Section 319 NPS Grant Program should be submitted by email to DEEP.watershed@ct.gov

Project Priorities for FY 2021

Applicants are strongly urged to consult with a DEEP Watershed Manager to ensure their proposals can be supported by the Section 319 Grant Program. Projects that identify match with non-federal funds will be recognized in the competitive review process. 

Watershed Based Plan Implementation Projects
Project priorities will continue to stress implementation projects in watersheds that have approved Watershed Based Plans (WBP) which lead to targeted pollutant load reductions and/or restoring impaired waters. Implementation projects should have a clear connection to the management goals and objectives of the WBP and show progress towards attaining water quality goals.  Such implementation projects may include but are not limited to: habitat improvements, dam removal, improved stormwater runoff management, and improved agricultural practices.

Implementation Projects Not Associated with WBPs
DEEP may consider implementation projects that are not connected to an existing WBP, but the project must target an impaired water(s).  Applicants must be able to document benefits toward pollutant load reduction and attainment of water quality standards. For implementation projects not covered under a WBP, applicants may be required to document how the 9 Elements of the Watershed Based Planning process will be addressed. 

WBP Development
DEEP will focus on WBP development for impaired waters which are prioritized in DEEP’s Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).  WBP development is considered an Action Plan in the IWRM strategy. DEEP may consider WBP development for impaired waterbodies that are not identified by DEEP’s IWRM strategy (see State of Connecticut Integrated Water Quality Report).  DEEP may also consider a WBP proposal when the impairment is not specific to a pollutant, or when addressing a small scale water quality problem, or for development of a protection plan as a Healthy Watershed Based Plan (see DEEP WBP website). EPA has provided detailed guidance on WBP structure and content (see EPA requirements and guidance).

Project Requirements

EPA Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant Requirements

The proposals must comply with the Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories issued on April 12, 2013. 

Grant Reporting Tracking System (GRTS) and Pollutant Load Reduction Estimates 

All grant recipients will be required to complete a spreadsheet form for the EPA Grant Reporting Tracking System (GRTS).

A grant recipient will accomplish this task by completing and submitting the GRTS worksheet to DEEP electronically. A copy of the GRTS worksheet is available at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Water/NPS/Nonpoint-Source-Management

Pollution Load Reductions Estimates

For implementation projects that involve constructing structural best management practices (BMPs):

  • The grant recipient will provide the pollutant load reduction estimates for each BMP(s) after construction.

  • The grant recipient will identify which pollutants and their respective units of measure will be calculated for each constructed BMP.

  • The grant recipient will consider and specify the method to estimate the load reductions such as: site-specific calculations, peer-reviewed literature or a publicly available model (models such as the Watershed Treatment Model, EPA STEPL model or EPA Region 5 Model for Estimating Pollutant Load Reductions). The GRTS spreadsheet assists grantees to provide pollutant load reduction estimates that are required for all NPS implementation projects.

Project Duration 
DEEP will generally limit project duration to a two-year contract period, (longer terms
 for completion of larger, more complex projects would be at the discretion of DEEP.)

Funding for projects that are not promptly initiated or fall substantially behind schedule may be considered for reprogramming to other Section 319 priority projects. DEEP suggests that potential grantees examine their needs for permits and other factors that may cause delays as early as possible.  

If the proposed project is a multi-year or phased project, applicants should provide rough estimates of the complete cost of restoring the water body. DEEP is receptive to a phased approach, with each year’s funding allotment representing an individual phase. However, applicants should recognize that each year or phase of funding will be competitive. DEEP does not automatically agree to fund future phases by committing to the initial phase. Proponents shall establish a schedule for the additional phases and costs needed to complete the project, which will be considered in the evaluation for this fiscal year.

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Content Last Updated March 29, 2021