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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462


For Release:

April 14, 2000

Contact:

Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

ALMOND ANNOUNCES GRANTS PROGRAM FOR WATER POLLUTION CONTROL

Applications Due by June 2

PROVIDENCE - Governor Lincoln Almond announced today that the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has up to $700,000 available for grants to communities, state and regional government agencies, public water suppliers and non-profit groups involved in water resource protection.

"These grants are a good example of Rhode Island's continuing commitment to work with local partners to protect and restore our watersheds," said Almond, who earlier this year also proposed a $42 million bond to address the Combined Sewer Overflow project and improve water quality on the local level. "A collaborative approach to preserving our environment is the best way to ensure it is maintained and preserved for generations to come."

The matching grants, which are financed by Rhode Island's Nonpoint Source Bond Fund and by Clean Water Act funds to DEM from the US Environmental Protection Agency, must be used for watershed restoration, wellhead protection, stormwater management planning and demonstration, or on-site wastewater management programs that prevent, control, or abate water pollution caused by nonpoint sources.

Nonpoint source pollution is a significant cause of water quality impairment in Rhode Island. Diffuse in nature, it comes from a number of sources such as failed septic systems, runoff from lawns, farms, and paved surfaces, unconfined stormwater, and erosion from unprotected construction sites.

DEM's Office of Water Resources will hold two public workshops to explain the grant program and the application process. The first will be held Thursday, April 27, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 300 at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade St., Providence. The second will be held Tuesday, May 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island's Coastal Institute Conference Center, Narragansett Bay Campus, South Ferry Road, Narragansett.

In addition to the public workshops, DEM encourages those interested in applying for the grants to submit a one-page pre-proposal to the Water Resources office by May 5 for review and comment.

Final proposals must be received by June 2, with projects to be selected in August. Grants may range from $10,000 to $200,000, depending on the project. A written Request for Proposals document, detailing guidance on the grant process is available from the Water Resources office.

Eligible activities for watershed restoration actions primarily include the design and construction of best management practices that address water quality impairments or restore habitats for waters that have been degraded by nonpoint source pollution. Watershed restoration actions may include, but are not limited to, projects that address stormwater, wastewater management, wetland loss, and degradation of aquatic species habitat.

The on-site wastewater management program grants are available for the development of local wastewater management plans. On-site sewage disposal systems serve about 35 percent of Rhode Island's homes, and when sited, designed and maintained properly, treat domestic wastewater very effectively. However, many of Rhode Island's on-site systems are substandard, beyond intended life expectancy, and improperly maintained. Along with stormwater runoff, malfunctioning and substandard on-site systems have been cited as Rhode Island's most significant nonpoint source of pollution.

Wellhead protection grants will be available for projects to protect groundwater quality within the wellhead protection areas for public water supply wells. Priority will be given to municipalities and suppliers with approved wellhead protection plans. Stormwater management planning and demonstration grants will assist several communities in developing plans that comply with Phase II of the Rhode Island Pollution Discharge and Elimination System permitting program, or address stormwater pollution prevention such as flexible zoning.

For additional information about the workshops or the grant process, contact DEM's Office of Water Resources at 222-3961. Information about the grants is also available on DEM's website at www.dem.state.ri.us/wqgrant.htm.


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