§319 FAQ

Section 319 (§319) is a piece of the Clean Water Act which allows states to request funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to install best management practices (BMPs) that reduce nonpoint source pollution to impaired surface waters. The West Virginia 319 Program is housed within the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Watershed Improvement Branch (WIB).

Certain streams across the state are considered “impaired” because their water quality does not meet water quality standards. If the state determines (through a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, analysis) that Nonpoint Source Pollution is causing the impairment, then §319 funding can be used to construct best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the pollution. The ideal §319 project will change water quality so that at least one water quality measurement will no longer violate standards in some stream segment. For example, a successful mine drainage project may decrease the load of aluminum into a stream segment so that it no longer exceeds the standard.

Watershed groups (and other “subgrantees”) submit an application to the Nonpoint Source Program Coordinator by close of business on May 1 of each year. The Coordinator and his team review those proposals and may request minor modifications. When the satisfactory proposals are in shape, the Coordinator will submit a combined package to EPA by late summer for inclusion in funding starting in the following fiscal year.

“AGO” stands for “Additional Grant Opportunity.” AGO funding is for smaller projects that may not, on their own, improve water quality, but will contribute to the process of improving water quality somehow. The Coordinator announces these opportunities most years, but the exact date is not set in stone. Discuss ideas for projects with the Coordinator or with a Basin Coordinator.

Note: A proposal requires an approved watershed-based plan (WBP) and its components must be described in the Program’s Management Plan. AGO projects do not require a WBP.

To apply for FY X funding, your application must be submitted by 5/1/X-1. The funding becomes available in late X. EPA and WVDEP expect that a skillful, hard working group can accomplish a project in three years, so 9/30/X+3 is a good target completion date. WVDEP must show that all funds are spent by 9/30/X+4. Therefore, WVDEP does not want to extend performance periods past 6/30/X+4.

For example, if you submit an application for FY 2025 funding on 5/1/2024, you might receive a notice that the funding is available by 9/1/2025. Ideally, you will finish that project sometime in 2028. If things go badly, however, the grant might be extended to 6/30/2029.

Milestone Example with FY2025 Equation for other years
Application for funding due May 1, 2024 5 / 1 / FY-1
Funding becomes available About September 1, 2025 About 9 / 1 / FY
Project completion expected September 30, 2027 9 / 30 / FY+3
Extensions may be possible until June 30, 2028 6 / 30 / FY+4

The NPS program requires two semiannual reports each year. The report due May 1 covers work from October 1 to March 31. The report due November 1 covers work from April 1 to September 30. Reports must include the number, types, and size of any BMPs that were installed during that semiannual period, and any pollution load reductions those BMPs caused. A final report is required when the project is complete.

YES. The Nonpoint Source Program can only pay for 60% of a project. At least 40% must come from other sources. Other sources can be state funds, in-kind contributions, volunteer labor, and other well-tracked resources. In most cases, other federal grants can not be used as match. However, Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program funds from USDI Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement can match Nonpoint Source Program funds.

In theory, Point Source pollution is pollution that comes into a waterway via a discrete conveyance, such as the discharge pipe at a factory or a sewage treatment plant. In contrast, Nonpoint Source Pollution is pollution that is washed off the land by rain or melting snow. In practice, Nonpoint Source Pollution is pollution that is not covered by the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) which was established by the Clean Water Act to regulate Point Sources. Listed below are some common kinds of NPS pollution and permit related information.

Abandoned mine drainage, which may or may not be acid mine drainage (AMD) Abandoned mines are those where operators stopped mining before August 3,1977. Many of these have been “plumbed” for safety’s sake, and the drainage does come out of a pipe, but so far, those pipes do not require NPDES permits
Farming operations: in general, the CWA does not require NPDES permits on farms. In some cases, NPDES permits are required, for instance, for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where 1,000 or more animals are being fed.
Erosion of soil from the ground. Construction areas must now have a Construction Stormwater Permit. To obtain such a permit, a project owner or construction company must have a plan to prevent erosion, both through careful work and BMPs that prevent any erosion from moving into a waterway.
Runoff from roads. Cities and towns are or soon will be required to have permits for stormwater. These permits prevent runoff of pollution on the ground into the waterways.
A home’s septic tank and leach field. Outside of a town or city with a sewer utility, the discharge from an onsite septic system is a nonpoint source of pollution. Inside, the utility should be processing it and discharging the treated water through a permitted discharge.

  1. Landowner cooperation. The Clean Water Act does not force landowners to install BMPs and reduce NPS pollution. Rather, it provides resources that the state can use to encourage installation of such BMPs.

  2. Finding matching resources. The NPS program can only provide 60% of the resources for a project. In most cases the 40% match requirements are passed on to each sub-grantee. However, matches can be less in certain circumstances if the 40% has been satisfied for the overall program.

  3. Permitting. Disturbing streams and wetlands requires some permits (See the Stream Disturbance Guidance pamphlet). In addition, when federal agencies are involved, they must consult with state and federal agencies about the work according to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

  4. Eligibility. There are some confusing details about what projects are eligible. Consult with the Coordinator or your Basin Coordinator to make sure your project is a Nonpoint Source Pollution project.

This is a reimbursable grant. WVDEP does not send you a check at the beginning. Rather, you make expenditures and send an invoice to WVDEP documenting them. Then WVDEP will reimburse you for what you have spent. When subgrantees hire contractors to help them with the work, they often warn the contractors that payment may take longer than usual because of the reimbursement process., In some cases, subgrantees have found fiscal agents to send payments while waiting for reimbursement.

WVDEP and EPA must approve a WWBP before they accept project proposals in that watershed. A WPB must cover nine specific elements satisfactorily and be submitted to and approved by EPA. Ideally, a WBP is also a statement of an agreement among many partners about who will do what to make a stream meet water quality standards.

If EPA supplies funding for a project that includes environmental data collection, then that project must have a QAPP. Thes plans include a section describing the goals, partners, background, and methods of the project, measures for making sure any collected data are accurate, methods for keeping track of quality control during the project, and methods for assessing and validating the data at the end of the project. EPA provides guidance for writing QAPPs.

In West Virginia, the Nonpoint Source program is part of the Watershed Improvement Branch (WIB) in the Department of Environmental Protection. Tim Craddock leads the NPS program. The Basin Coordinators in WIB can also answer questions and provide guidance at every stage.

Get information from any source you can! Find partners with experience! We recommend the Watershed Project Implementation Guide, which was written by Friends of the Cheat. Our basin coordinators have advice and contacts with experienced people as well.

  1. Standards: A state must have water quality standards designed to protect the designated uses of its waters.

  2. Impairment: A state must have identified a particular stream as impaired (meaning that its water quality does not meet standards and the stream does not support one or more designated uses).

  3. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis: The state estimates how much pollution a stream can receive before it becomes impaired, and proposes a plan to reduce the pollution load to that point. The TMDL analysis makes an estimate of how much of the damaging pollution is from point sources and how much is from nonpoint sources.

  4. Watershed Based Plan (WBP): see above

  5. Project proposal: This is a proposal for funds to install BMPs that will reduce pollution loads.

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Contact Us

Timothy Craddock, NPS Program Coordinator
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV 25034
Phone: (304) 414-3868
Email: DEP319@wv.gov