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How to Apply for Nonpoint Source Grants

How to apply for grants to cleanup or prevent water pollution including eligibility, requirements, and guidelines

Request for Grant Applications

return to top The next opportunity to apply for grants under this program opens June 1, 2018 and closes July 31, 2018 at 3 pm. On June 1, 2018, this page will provide detailed instructions for making an application.

The sections below provide background on this grant program, applicants and activities eligible for funding, and other supporting information.

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Grant Administration and Sources of Funding

The TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board Exit the TCEQ administer federal grants for activities that prevent or reduce nonpoint source pollution. Grants are awarded annually and fund projects for up to three years. The TCEQ usually solicits grants in the summer of each year. Opportunities to apply are published on this Web page and Electronic State Business Daily Exit the TCEQ.

The grants are made available through a federal program authorized under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. See descriptions of current and recent projects funded through the TCEQ’s Nonpoint Source Program.

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Who Is Eligible?

All nonprofit organizations, and all state agencies or political subdivisions of the State of Texas—including cities, counties, school districts, state universities, and special districts—are eligible. Private organizations may participate in projects as partners or contractors but may not apply directly for funding.

Applicants are encouraged to partner with other local, state, and federal authorities to increase the impact of their activities. Participation offers the following benefits:

      • More and better information is available for managing surface water resources.
      • It ensures local perspectives are considered in decision making by government.
      • Stakeholders gain insight into the nature of water quality problems and solutions.
      • It promotes local stewardship of water resources through voluntary action.

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What Activities Are Eligible?

To be eligible for funding, a project must address the objectives, goals and/or priorities identified in the 2017 Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program or nonpoint source elements in the 1998 Texas Coastal Management Program Exit the TCEQ. Priority is given to funding development and implementation of watershed protection plans and alternative watershed-based plans.

Other eligible activities include:

      • assessment of nonpoint sources of water pollution
      • education and outreach
      • implementation of both technology-based and water quality–based management measures

Projects that implement permit requirements for storm water are not eligible for funding. However, storm water management activities not required by permit might be eligible for assistance. Also, even in areas with storm water permits, low impact development practices and retrofits of storm water control structures are usually eligible for funding.

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Watershed Planning Projects

Refer to the Watershed Protection Plan page.

Quality Assurance Requirements

All project-related water quality data must be acquired, collected, and analyzed in accordance with an approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). This includes all "environmental data operations" such as water quality sampling and analysis, flow measurement, acquisition or collection of rainfall data or geospatial data, and hydrologic or water quality modeling.

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Guidance for NPS Grants

The following Web pages provide guidance and information for Section 319 grant projects.

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Tools for Documenting Pollutant Reductions

The federal nonpoint source program uses the term "best management practices," or BMPs, to refer to any activity that has proven effective in preventing or reducing nonpoint source pollution. Every grant project that implements BMPs must include an estimate of the amount of pollution its activities will prevent or reduce, and an evaluation of the performance of the BMPS implemented.

Links to some of the BMPs that Texas has found effective are provided below. Information on those websites should prove useful for estimating pollutant reductions from the associated practices.

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Agricultural and Silvicultural Projects

The TSSWCB 319(h) Grant Program Exit the TCEQadministers the Section 319(h) grant program for agricultural and silvicultural projects in Texas.

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Funding for Stormwater and Wastewater

The Texas Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Exit the TCEQ and Texas Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Exit the TCEQ, administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), provide low-interest loans and limited grants for a wide range of nonpoint source projects, as well as for stormwater and wastewater utility projects which are not eligible for Section 319(h) grant funds. Each of these funds includes a Green Project Reserve which provides a 15% loan forgiveness for qualifying activities (such as installing green stormwater infrastructure/low impact development).

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Funding for Septic Systems/On-Site Sewage Facilities

The TCEQ NPS grant program does not provide direct assistance to individual homeowners for septic systems. From time to time, this grant program does fund some local and regional projects that provide septic system assistance. Possible Funding Options for OSSFs in Texas identifies assistance with repair and/or replacement of malfunctioning septic systems available from certain projects funded under TCEQ’s Supplemental Environmental Projects program, from Texas USDA Rural Development offices, and other sources. TCEQ also offers helpful information about septic systems for homeowners.

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For More Information

Contact the NPS Program by e-mail at nps@tceq.texas.gov, or call 512-239-6682.

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