State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships
South Dakota Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR)
State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships
PRIORITIZATION OF CONSOLIDATION PROJECTS AND SMALL SYSTEM ASSISTANCE
DENR’s Division of Financial and Technical Assistance offers several tools to support and encourage partnership. Systems are given priority points for consolidating or becoming a consecutive system of another public water system. The state’s Consolidated Grant Funds are used to compliment DWSRF or other funds with preference given to drinking water projects. DENR also has a Small Systems Planning Grant program which provides an 80% grant up to $8000 to allow systems to hire an engineer to develop the required facility plan needed to apply for state funding opportunities. DENR has also developed a Very Small System’s Compliance Grant for up to $50,000 if total project costs are less than $100,000. This grant is only available to systems serving less than 50 connections and could be used for consolidation purposes if compliance is an issue.
The Capacity Development Program developed self-assessments for systems to determine their TMF capacity. In the Emergencies section of the assessment, systems are asked if their Emergency Response Plan has a contingency for emergency interconnections to neighboring systems, and whether the emergency connections are functional.
The state allows small systems the option of contracting with a certified operator. The Board can approve arrangements where a certified operator not under direct employment of a system can work as the system's certified operator. The contract operator must work a minimum number of hours per week and be in direct responsible charge of all operation and maintenance of the system.
NEW SYSTEMS REQUIRED TO CONSIDER CONSOLIDATION
New systems must supply the state with a description of the alternatives considered (including consolidations or interconnections with existing water systems) and the technical, managerial, financial and operational reasons for the approach selected.
South Dakota’s Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (SDWARN), is a utility created mutual aid agreement which water systems may sign in order to access and distribute staff, equipment and resources between water systems in the event of an emergency. This tool can be used by member utilities in the event of a flood, ice storm, blizzard, fire, or human-caused event.
Helpful Links to State Resources
- Drinking Water Program: http://denr.sd.gov/des/dw/dwhome.aspx
- DWSRF: http://denr.sd.gov/dfta/wwf/dwsrf/dwsrfprogram.aspx
- Capacity Development: http://denr.sd.gov/des/dw/capacity.aspx
- Operator Training: http://denr.sd.gov/des/dw/exam.aspx
- Drinking Water Security: http://denr.sd.gov/des/dw/dwsecurity.aspx