June 12, 2001

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is making grants up to $500,000 available for communities, state and regional government agencies, and nonprofit groups to support water quality restoration.

The grants, which are financed through the funds of the Federal Clean Water Act, must be used for water quality restoration projects or implementation of onsite 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. 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.

"Restoring water quality often requires actions to be taken at the local level," said DEM director Jan Reitsma. "This financial assistance program is an important way that the DEM can work with local entities to achieve water quality improvements."

DEM's Office of Water Resources will hold a public workshop to explain the grant program and the application process. The workshop will be held Thursday, June 14, from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm at DEM Headquarters in Providence.

Eligible activities for water quality restoration may include, but are not limited to, projects that address stormwater, wastewater management, wetland loss and degradation of aquatic species habitat.

DEM encourages submittal of one page proposals to the Water Resources office by June 29 for review and comment. Final proposals must be received by August 3, with projects to be selected in late fall.

Grants may range from $10,000 to $200,000, depending on the project. A written request for guidance on the grant process may be accessed on DEM's website at: http://www.state.ri.us.dem/programs/benviron/water/finance

Source: Environmental News Service