Public Wastewater System Planning Grants
DEQ's Wastewater Planning Grant Program provides financial assistance to eligible entities in Idaho planning to upgrade public wastewater facilities. Each prospective project is assigned a priority rating, with the highest rankings given to projects that will most significantly improve the quality of the waters of the state and protect public health. Grants awarded under this program must be used entirely to prepare facility plans that identify the most cost-effective, environmentally sound methods to upgrade public wastewater systems to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal standards. Grants cover up to 50% of eligible planning costs, with the grantee providing a matching share from local sources.
Wastewater planning grants are available for counties, cities, special service districts, other governmental entities, nonprofit corporations, and combinations thereof that have authority to collect, treat, or dispose of wastewater. Most systems owned by Idaho municipalities, special service districts, and associations are eligible for grants.
Once each year, DEQ contacts eligible systems to solicit interest in applying for a planning grant. Those who are interested in applying for a planning grant must submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to DEQ. Responses, submitted as a LOI, are evaluated, rated, and ranked by DEQ for inclusion on the next annual priority list. Rating criteria focus on potential public health risks, long-term viability of the system (i.e., sustainability), and the status of the system’s compliance with state and federal regulations. The highest rankings are given to projects that DEQ has determined will most improve the waters of the state, provide for system sustainability, and best protect public health.
The highest rated projects for which funding exists will be invited to submit a planning grant application. The number of grants offered each year is limited to available funding. Systems selected to receive grants are required to hire a professional engineer to survey the existing condition of the system, develop and screen alternatives to enable the system to meet future needs, select a recommended alternative, and evaluate the potential environmental impacts. An environmental information document is required of all grant recipients, and a system may be required to develop and implement mitigation measures as the project moves into design and construction.
Each year DEQ prepares a priority list defining how it intends to allocate resources for wastewater facilities planning. The fiscal year (FY) 2017 priority list was reviewed and adopted by the Board of Environmental Quality in May 2016.
FY 2017 Grant Recipients
In FY 2017, wastewater planning grants have been awarded to the following recipients:
- City of Culdesac, Nez Perce County
- City of Heyburn, Minidoka County
- City of Mullan, Shoshone County
- Ellisport Bay Sewer District, Bonner County