Clean Water Act: Section 319 Grant Program

This US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding program is designed to help states reduce nonpoint source pollution (pollution caused by rainfall running over the ground and carrying pollutants including trash, oil and grease, and fertilizers into nearby waterways).  The program was authorized by Section 319 of the Clean Water Act which requires states to adopt a nonpoint source management program and assess nonpoint source pollution responsible for the water quality impairments. EPA provides funding to states under Section 319, and states can subgrants to local governments. EPA’s program guidance recognizes the “importance of green infrastructure … in managing stormwater” and supported awarding funding to green infrastructure projects.

The District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) used Section 319 funding to partially fund remediation of the Watts Branch watershed in northeast D.C. Watts Branch suffered from severe erosion and sediment pollution due to frequent flooding. DDOE led a project to restore the stream bed and control flooding using tree and shrub plantings, regrading of the stream bed, and upstream low-impact development practices to manage impervious surface runoff. The project received over $910 million in Section 319 project implementation funds, which DDOE combined with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation funding and Washington, DC local funds.

The use of Section 319 grant funding has several limitations. First, each Section 319 grant requires a 40% non-federal funding match. Second, 319 grants may not be used for stormwater activities that directly implement a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) NPDES permit. If a local government has included stormwater retention and best management practices in its MS4 permit, the state should consult with the EPA on the eligibility of the green infrastructure project.

More information about EPA's Section 319 program can be found at U.S. EPA, Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidelines for States and Territories, 25 (2013) http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/319-guidelines-fy14.pdf 

 

If you have any trouble accessing the website link above, please find here an archived page. You may find this has limited use. https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/https://www.epa.gov/nps/319-grant-reports-and-project-summaries 

Publication Date: April 12, 2013

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