Small Drinking Water Systems Invited to Apply For Special Assistance Funding

Small drinking water treatment systems in Kentucky are invited to apply for financial assistance to improve their technical, managerial and financial capabilities in order to ensure production of safe drinking water in a consistent, cost-effective manner. Small systems are those that serve fewer than 10,000 customers.

The funding program, which is in its second year, is a cooperative venture of the Kentucky Division of Water and the nonprofit Community Action of Kentucky (through the Rural Community Assistance Program). The two agencies work together to identify small drinking water systems in need of capacity development assistance based on factors that are not regulated, such as infrastructure planning, staff training and office management.

“Many small water treatment facilities are at a disadvantage because of their budget and personnel limitations, yet they face the same challenges as larger plants that have more money and specialized staff,” said Jennifer Spradlin, who coordinates the program for the Division of Water. “The goal of this funding program is to allow the smaller systems to complete critical but non-regulatory projects they might not be able to pursue otherwise.”

Last year, seven water treatment systems were selected for funding to accomplish such improvements as tank inspections, distribution system mapping and leak detection. The awards ranged from $2,000 to $25,000. Applications are available online at . They are also available through the area development districts. The deadline for application submission is Dec. 7, 2012.

Funding for the Capacity Development Assistance Program for Small Systems is made possible through funds set aside by the Commonwealth of Kentucky from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) capitalization grant. The DWSRF program was established by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 to provide low-interest loans to public water systems for infrastructure improvements needed to produce safe drinking water. The program emphasizes the prevention of drinking water contamination by allowing states to reserve a portion of their grants to fund activities that encourage enhanced water system management and source water protection.