As part of the establishment of the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund (Trust Fund), the legislature formed the Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission. The Commission was established to consult with and advise the Department of Environmental Services in the proper administration and management of the Fund. The Commission consists of nineteen members, including representatives of five State agencies, members of the House of Representatives and Senate, municipal officials, and members of the public.
RSA 485-F requires that the Commission meets at least quarterly and provides an annual report to the General Court with information on the progress of the MtBE efforts, expenditures for the year, projects begun or completed during the previous year, the balance of the Trust Fund, and any other information the Commission deems appropriate.
The Commission awards grants, revolving loan funds and matching funds to projects on a competitive basis from the Trust Fund in a manner consistent with RSA 485-F. All disbursements or grants shall require approval of the Governor and Council. Funds may be awarded if the project meets one of the following criteria:
- “Emergency remediation is necessary where contamination of drinking water or groundwater is prevalent;
- Planning, design and building of aging infrastructure is involved;
- The project protects against future contamination or impacted drinking water sources through measures including, but not limited to, the expansion of drinking water infrastructure or drinking water source protection;
- The project assists local and regional entities in the development and administration of local wellhead protection programs, including delineation of wellhead protection areas and the inventory and management of activities which have a potential effect on groundwater quality; and
- The project provides funding though cost-sharing grants to municipalities, municipally-owned water utilities and water utilities regulated by the Public Utilities Commission for the design, construction and extension of public water systems, and the establishment and expansion of wellhead protection areas where they provide the most cost effective method for providing safe and clean drinking water.” (RSA 485-F,VII)
The Commission shall take land preservation into consideration and encourage all applicants to provide matching funds beyond the minimum established by the Commission. Information on grant application forms and deadlines can be found at the following link: https://www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-dwg-trust/?page_id=391
In addition, for the grant program application requirements, the Commission develops criteria for selection, approval processes, and matching requirements for each applicant. Similarly, the Commission also develops criteria selection, approval processes and funding qualifications for the revolving loan fund application requirements.
Also, RSA 485-F requires that the Commission, at least annually, review the work and projects funded by the Trust Fund during the previous year. As part of the annual review, the Commission consults with the Department regarding these activities and provides advice and counsel to the Department regarding future work and project priorities.
At least every five years, the Commission prepares and files a report with the General Court evaluating the progress made relative to MtBE contamination, the efficiency of the program and whether the program continues to provide the maximum benefit to New Hampshire citizens. The report shall provide any recommendations for additional tasks for which the Trust Fund could be used to improve access to safe and clean drinking water.