State Grants to Reimburse Operators of Small Water Systems for Training and Certification Costs


This grant program was established as a one-time grant to states and U.S. territories to train and certify small drinking water system operators.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2013: EPA's funding priority has been to provide funds to states to reimburse the costs of training, including an appropriate per diem for unsalaried operators, and certification for persons operating community and nontransient noncommunity public water systems serving 3,300 persons or fewer that are required to undergo training pursuant to EPA's operator certification guidelines. The Operator Expense Reimbursement Grant (ERG) program closed at the end of calendar year 2012.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Deleted 09/09/2014 (Archived.)
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Office: Office of Water
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996, Section 301, Public Law 104-182.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories are eligible to receive grants.
Beneficiary Eligibility
States and U.S. Territories are the primary beneficiaries. States and U.S. Territories use funds awarded to them to provide reimbursement to operators of community and nontransient noncommunity public water systems serving 3,300 persons or fewer that are publicly- or privately-owned. Indian tribes and Alaska Native Villages may be eligible to receive funding through state programs if they are subject to state operator certification program requirements.
To receive a grant, a State or territory enters into an agreement with the EPA Regional Administrator which shall include, but not be limited to, the requirements set forth in Section 1419(d) of the 1996 SDWA Amendments. OMB Circular No. A-87, "Cost Principles Applicable to Grants and Contracts with State and Local Governments" applies to state grantees. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
An applicant (State and U.S. territory) should seek preapplication assistance from the appropriate EPA Regional Office as listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog. An environmental impact statement is not required prior to grant award. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. The standard application for EPA non-construction grant assistance (EPA Form SF-424) is submitted to the appropriate Regional Office. The state must receive EPA approval of its operator certification program before it can apply for and receive a grant. The state must provide the assurance in its application that it will comply with all applicable Federal cross-cutting authorities and Federal statutes. EPA grant regulations (40 CFR Part 31) apply to states receiving grants. Applicants may be able to use to electronically apply for certain grant opportunities under this CFDA.
Award Procedure
A grant application is reviewed by the appropriate Regional Office, and if approved, the grant is awarded by the Regional Administrator under a delegation of authority (Delegation of Authority 9-68) from the Administrator of EPA. EPA Headquarters retains the authority to review certain applications or parts thereof.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Approval time averages 45 days.
Disputes will be resolved under 40 CFR 30.63 or 40 CFR 31.70, as applicable.
Not Applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Grants are awarded to States that satisfy the requirements outlined in the application procedure section.
How may assistance be used?
Grants may be used by states to reimburse operators of community and nontransient noncommunity water systems serving 3,300 persons or fewer for the costs of training and certification needed to meet EPA guidelines. Unsalaried operators may also be reimbursed for per diem costs. States are allowed to use a portion of their grant to administer the program. If a state has reimbursed all such costs, the state may, after notice to the Administrator of EPA, use any remaining funds from the grant for any of the other purposes authorized for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) capitalization grants under section 1452 of the 1996 SDWA Amendments (CFDA 66.468).

Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or government-owned vehicles, or while driving privately-owned vehicles when on official government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the government. Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to conduct initiatives of the type described in section 3(a) of the Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving Executive Order that was signed on October 1, 2009.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
EPA includes reporting requirements for grants and cooperative agreements in the terms and conditions of the agreements. Agreements may require quarterly, interim, and final progress reports, and expenditure/financial, equipment, and invention reports. Specific reporting requirements are also identified in the Grant Regulations at 40 CFR Part 30 and 40 CFR Part 31, as applicable. Program reports are required under this program. Cash reports are required under this program. Progress reports are required under this program. Expenditure reports are required under this program. Performance monitoring is required under this program.
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year.
Financial records and other records which substantiate the reasonable and allocable charges must be available to personnel authorized to examine EPA grant accounts. All records must be maintained for three years from the date of submission of the annual financial status reports. If questions arise, related records must be retained until the matter is completely resolved.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory Formula: Title 66 FR 19939. The Regional Administrator may award expense reimbursement grants from funds appropriated for this purpose. Allotments to the States and U.S. territories are based on a formula, approved by the Assistant Administrator for Water, that allocates the funds based on several factors, including the number of operators of small systems within a State. The allocation methodology was published in the Federal Register on April 18, 2001 (66 FR 19939).
Matching Requirements: There are no matching requirements on the initial grant award. However, if a state reimburses all eligible costs and chooses to use the remaining funds for purposes eligible under the DWSRF program (CFDA 66.468), it will be required to provide a 20 percent match on the remaining amount. The allotment of funds to the States is determined by a formula that reflects the costs to train and certify operators of system serving 3,300 persons or fewer in each state.
This program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
During the two year reimbursement period, 54 awards were made to states for reimbursement of certification and training cost for drinking water operators of small water systems serving populations of 3,300 or less. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: The method of fund disbursement will be determined at the time of award.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices. See EPA Regional Offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog, or online.
Headquarters Office
Allison Watanabe Protection Branch (4606M), Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, District of Columbia 20460 Email: Phone: (202) 564-0128
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Formula Grants) FY 12 $0; FY 13 est $0; and FY 14 est $0
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$14,420 to $9,642,860/fiscal year; $4,828,640/fiscal year.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Applicants for assistance should review 40 CFR Part 31, the General Grant Regulations and Procedures and guidance produced by the Headquarters drinking water program office.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2013: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2014: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2015: No Current Data Available


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