Federal Water Quality Management Planning Grants
Total Stimulus Appropriation: $39,391,601
New Jersey’s Portion: $1,617,645
Allocation Method: Federal requirement 1% of Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) allocation
Program Overview
Section 604(b) of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) provides for the reservation each fiscal year of one percent of each State’s CWSRF allotment “to carry out planning” under Sections 205(j) and 303(e) of the CWA. These funds are available to the NJDEP and Regional Public Comprehensive Planning Organizations (RPCPOs) to assist in planning activities related to the CWSRF.

Section 205(j) of CWA defines water quality management planning activities as determining the nature, extent and causes of water quality problems, determining point and non-point source pollution controls necessary to solve those problems, and determining those publicly owned treatment works that should be constructed with public assistance from the (CWSRF).

Section 303(e) of CWA requires that each state initiate and maintain a continuing planning process (CPP) for area-wide Water Quality Management Planning. New Jersey’s CCP is established by the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act (N.J.S.A. 58:11A) and implemented in the Water Quality Management Planning Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:15). Central to New Jersey’s CPP is the integration of federal, State, regional and local land use plans, policies and programs into a cohesive area-wide Water Quality Management Plan which addresses future wastewater treatment needs and non-point source pollution.

Federal Requirements and Restrictions
  • At least 40% of the funds must be passed through to Regional Public Comprehensive Planning Organizations.
  • EPA encourages that 20% of the money be set aside for planning activities related to green infrastructure such as, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, and low impact development practices.
  • EPA seeks for obligation and full contracting of funds within six months, with an absolute deadline of 12 months at which time uncommitted funds shall be collected by EPA and redistributed to other states.
  • EPA requires full expenditure of funds within thirty months of the date of enactment of the ARRA.
  • States may use 604(b) money only for planning.  Funds may not be used to develop facility site-plans or plans to address collection issues at individual facilities.
Program Eligibility
Due to federal restrictions, planning projects are only eligible if they can be under contract by February 17, 2010 and fully completed by September 17, 2011. Eligible organizations are limited to regional public comprehensive planning organizations engaged in comprehensive water quality management planning through New Jersey’s federally approved continuing planning process. Eligible activities are limited to planning activities that address water quality protection and restoration and that are not specific to any one particular facility.

Additionally, the Department readopted the Water Quality Management Planning Rules with amendments on July 7, 2008. Among those amendments was the assignment of wastewater management planning responsibility to counties and the requirement to have updated plans submitted to the Department on an expedited basis. Implementation of this rule is a priority for the Department. Therefore, counties engaged in wastewater management planning and advancing this initiative will receive the highest priority for funding.

Project Prioritization
The primary consideration in project selection will be the project’s ability to be contracted and completed within the timeframes noted above. Projects will be further prioritized based on their capacity to preserve and create jobs, their ability to provide long-term environmental and economic benefits, their ability to increase economic efficiency through technological advancement and their effect on stabilizing local government budgets.
Important Program Dates
June 30, 2009 – Letters sent to each of the sixteen (16) counties actively engaged in wastewater management planning advising them of available ARRA funding and grant application requirements.

July 24, 2009 – follow up sent to each of the sixteen (16) counties requesting all grant applications be submitted by September 1, 2009.

July 30, 2009 – ARRA Grant award letter received from USEPA.

September 1, 2009 – County grant application submission deadline.

February 17, 2010 – All funds including green infrastructure planning funds to be contractually obligated through contracts, grant agreements or other appropriate vehicle.

February 17, 2011 – All funds dedicated to Water Quality Management Planning to be expended.

August 17, 2011 – All funds dedicated to Green Infrastructure Planning to be expended.

(Note: additional dates may be inserted after guidance from EPA is received concerning green infrastructure planning requirements).