Source Water Protection Grant Question & Answers
This information is provided by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy to assist the public and regulated community.
Form #: 11-003 Grant Information Revised: 3/29/24

Q1. Who can apply for this grant?
A1. Political subdivisions, in Nebraska, that operate a public water system serving a population of 10,000 or less and have met all requirements of the Source Water Assessment Program.

Q2. Is there a match required?
A2. Yes. The grant will require a 10% match of the total project cost.
For example: Total project cost of $10,000 = $9,000 grant + $1,000 match

Q3. Why is the security funding no longer available for this grant?
A3. The Department of Health and Human Services already administrates a Public Water Supply (PWS) Security Grant. This grant has similar requirements as the Source Water Grant but focuses primarily on PWS security. For more information on this grant please contact DHHS at (402) 471-3121.

Q4. Are applicants required to have a state-approved Wellhead Protection Plan?
A4. No. Having a state-approved Wellhead Protection Plan will give a proposal funding priority but is not required. Activities related to developing a Wellhead Protection Plan, such as contaminant source inventories, are eligible for funding.

Q5. Can a municipality apply for a Source Water Protection grant if the community’s wellhead protection plan has not yet been completed?
A5. Yes. A completed wellhead protection plan is not a requirement for receiving Source Water grant funding.

Q6. Can the grant funds go towards funding the wellhead protection plan for one well?
A6. Funds can be used toward developing a wellhead protection plan if it is part of a larger more comprehensive plan to protect all the community’s drinking water wells. Plan development, as a stand-alone project, will not be funded. The source water grant categories are drinking water quality, quantity and education. The more categories included in your project, the higher the project will be ranked for funding.

Q7. My community has a septic system within our well head protection area that we would like to decommission. Are the expenses associated with the decommission eligible in the source water program?
A7. Yes. Decommissioning septic systems within the well head protection area is an eligible activity under the grant program.

Q8. We would like to apply to do to projects in the same area, is it better to submit them as two separate applications or one?
A8. It’s up to the applicant to decide whether it’s easier to combine them or submit them separately. The RFP criterion favors more well-rounded projects.

Q9. What are examples of normal operations and maintenance items which are ineligible under the Source Water Protection grant program?
A9. Examples of operations and maintenance include, but are not limited to:
Variable Frequency Drive
PWS Well Transducers
SCADA System
A New Well

Q10. Would the expense of looping lines to prevent low pressure be eligible under the Source Water Protection grant program?
A10. No. This activity falls under operations and maintenance and is not funded under the grant program.

Q11. Can money be used to connect Village water to a nearby drinking water pipeline?
A11. No. Connecting to a nearby drinking water pipeline is categorized under operations and maintenance and would not be an eligible expense.

Q12. Can Source Water Protection grant funds be used for the purchase of a back-up generator for the well’s pump?
A12. No. The back-up generator is viewed as an emergency-security measure and security projects are no longer an eligible expenditure under this program.

Q13. Can the grant funds be used to purchase GPS equipment that would be used to gather data on their water system and curb stops to develop a new map?
A13. No. In the past this was an eligible activity, however, the Department of Health and Human Services administers a grant every year that does fund these activities. It has been decided because of this, the Source Water Grant will be focused more towards the source of drinking water and less on the distribution system.

Q14. Can the grant be used to pay a teacher or water operator for their role in the implementation of the grant?
A14. Yes, the funds can be used to pay a teacher, water operator, or other project administrator for their role in implementing, coordinating or administering the project a part of a larger Source Water Protection project. Projects requesting only personnel expenses are ineligible though. Be sure the percent used for administration is reasonable to the work being done.

Q15. Is it true that any city capable of being bonded is not eligible for these grants?
A15. No. There is no eligibility restriction on cities with regard to bonding.

Q16. How do I verify which municipalities have met the requirements of the Source Water Assessment Program?
A16. Call or e-mail the Source Water Protection coordinator to confirm compliance with the Source Water Assessment Program: (402) 471-2186 or

Q17. Can a County Health Department apply for a Source Water Protection grant?
A17. A County Health Department can apply for a Source Water Protection grant if they also operate a public water system that serves a population of 10,000 or less.

Q18. Can grant money be used to donate toward the Nebraska Rural Water Association for the services they provide for free?
A18. No. Grant funds cannot be used as a donation.

Q19. Can grant funds be used to pay for expenses associated with attending the NeRWA annual conference?
A19. No. This is not an eligible expense under the grant program.

Q20. Can the grant funds be used for administrative purposes?
A20. Administrative activities that relate specifically to the grant, and occur during the grant period, are eligible expenses. There is no set percent, of the total grant funds awarded, that can be used on administrative expenses. Be sure the percent used is reasonable to the work being done.

Q21. If awarded, is there any grant administration associated with the grant or is the grant just based on the application and financial transaction that takes place?
A21. General administration is required for the grant. If a proposal is awarded, the grant money is disbursed on a reimbursement basis. An administrator will need to submit reimbursement requests to the Department prior to payment of grant funds. Semi-annual reporting and a final report, with final financial details, are also required as part of award requirements.

Q22. Can we use the grant to pay for water sampling?
A22. Yes and no.
  • Yes, if water sampling is part of your Wellhead Protection Plan and will help evaluate threats and sources of contamination.
  • No, if this is the state-required monitoring of your PWS well or intake.