Special Areas of Well Compensation Eligibility
Well Compensation Grant Program
(s. 281.75, Wis. Stats., and ch. NR 123, Wis. Admin. Code)
A Well Compensation Program grant award provides financial assistance for individuals to replace, reconstruct, treat contaminated private water supplies and to fill and seal existing wells. As of June 1, 2008 only Licensed Well Drillers or Pump Installers or their employees may fill and seal unused wells.
To apply for a Well Compensation grant award – for both well replacement and a well abandonment – you must submit an application claim form along with all the necessary attachments (indicated below) and sign the application in the presence of a Notary Public. When completed, send your application package to the DNR in Madison. Then wait for your Well Compensation Grant agreement, sign it and send back to the DNR in Madison BEFORE any well work is done on your property. Only work done on your property after you have received your signed grant agreement letter will any be eligible for reimbursement.
This program’s payment is based on specific eligible approved activities that are on a preset listing of prices per items that are locked in the Wisconsin Administrative Code and maximum payment is limited by the Wisconsin Statute.
Only Eligible claimants who have worked through the questions listed under How to submit an application claim will be eligible for an award. If you have an existing well that is chemically contaminated, it’s best to start the application process by discussing your situation with the DNR Regional Private Water Supply Contacts. The DNR contact person will assist you in preparing your application for a replacement water supply.
In order to submit a complete application claim package for well and water system replacement you must complete and sign (in the presence of a Notary Public) the cover application form: 8700-174. and the following attachments along with your application:
A Itemized statement sheet: form 8700-175 (with the actual well construction and pump installation details filled out by the Licensed Well Driller & Pump Installer or by the DNR Water Supply Contact Person).
A copy of your Wisconsin State Income Tax Return form (showing your Wisconsin income for the most recent taxable year.) [Do not send your Federal Tax Return.]
A DNR advisory letter or water test results from a certified lab.
A plat map that shows the location of your property and your well.
A copy of the Well Construction for your existing well, if available.
Since January 1, 1985, the State of Wisconsin has been fortunate to have a program that can help owners of contaminated private water supplies. This program, called, “Well Compensation,” was established by the comprehensive Groundwater Bill of 1984. It was designed by the Wisconsin Legislature to provide replacement private water supplies to help assure access to water free of toxic chemicals, regardless of fault.
The contaminated private water supply: (maximum of $9,000 per contaminated well)
spouse of landowner
dependent of landowner
heir of landowner
assignee or legal representative of landowner
renter of landowner
shared well owner of a private residential water supply
Note: Landowner (or renter) and shared well owners may be eligible for a portion of the grant award maximum of $9,000 per well, each may complete an applciation.
How to Submit an Application Claim:
If your answer is YES to ALL of the following questions, you will need to discuss your eligibility for a Well Compensation Program grant with your DNR Regional Private Water Supply Specialist to make the final determination of eligibility.
The landowner’s, shared well owner’s, or renter’s prior calendar year family income was less than $65,000 and a copy of the filed prior year Wisconsin Income Tax form will be provided as proof at the time of application?
I am the owner, shared well owner, or renter of a private water supply and I have received a “Health Advisory Letter” from the DNR after July 1, 1984 indicating that my water supply exceeds a health related state or federal drinking water standard for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate? OR The results of two water tests, taken at least two weeks apart and not more than 2 years apart, were analyzed by a certified laboratory and indicate that my water supply exceeds a health related state or federal drinking water standard for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate? (Note: copies of water test must be provided at time of the application claim and shall be taken within 2 years prior to the date of the application claim with the DNR.) See exceptions for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate under “Eligible Contaminated Private Water Supply.”
I am the owner, shared well owner, or renter of a private water supply and my water supply is a drilled well and serves a residence or is used for watering livestock? (Note: Springs or dug wells are NOT eligible.)
I am the owner, shared well owner, or renter of a private water supply and I understand that I am NOT eligible for Well Compensation Program grant funds if I have applied for the same cost provided by another source of funding?
I am the owner, shared well owner, or renter of a private water supply and I understand that payment from this grant is considered “awards to individuals” and is classified as other income by the IRS (1-800-829-1040 ), therefore I am responsible for tax filing for this grant payment?
(Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha) , Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53212-3128. Phone # (414) 263-8576 (414) 263-8576
South Central Region:
(Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, Sauk,), Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg, WI 53711. Phone # (608) 275-3311 (608) 275-3311
(Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Burnett, Douglas, Forest, Florence, Iron, Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, Price, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, Washburn), Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 107 Sutliff Avenue, Rhinelander, WI 54501-3349. Phone # (715) 635-4066 (715) 635-4066
(Brown, Calumet, Door, Green Lake, Fond Du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago), Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 2984 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay, WI 54313. Phone # (920) 662-5188 (920) 662-5188
West Central Region:
(Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, LaCrosse, Monroe, Marathon, Pierce, Pepin, Portage, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon, Wood), Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 1300 W. Clairemont Avenue, PO Box 4001, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4001. Phone # (715) 839-3745 (715) 839-3745
The Regional DNR Private Water Supply Specialist will help you by explaining the requirements of the program, assisting you in evaluating the alternatives for solving your well contamination problem, and help you with the completion of the application claim package. If you are going to reconstruct your existing well or drill a new well, you should select a licensed well driller and also have the driller help you with the well construction details. A licensed pump installer should help you with the pump installation items and specifications. The Well Compensation Program grant application forms are provided in the “Appendix – DNR Forms.” See forms 8700-174 and 8700-175.
Allocation of State Funds:
The Wisconsin State Legislature (Assembly Bill 100) allocates continuing segregated state funds annually to the “Environmental Aids – for Well Compensation” appropriation for spending by the DNR on grant awards. The amount of state funds received as a result of the bi-annual budget depends on the historical use of needs for the grant program. The DNR shall allocate money for the payment of completed claims and amendments according to the order in which completed claims and amendments are received by the DNR. Grant funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If funds are available for your application claim you will receive a grant award document.
If funds are NOT available:
If funds are not available, your application claim will be placed on a waiting list for possible funding in the future. You will receive a notice to proceed letter from the DNR instead of a grant award document. This notice to proceed letter will allow you to start your water supply replacement prior to the issuance of the grant award document. A notice to proceed letter only assures the claimant that their application claim will not be denied due to incurring costs prior the DNR issuance of the grant award document. If the Wisconsin State Legislature adds more money to the “Environmental Aids-for Well Compensation” appropriation, your application claim will be processed. However, there is no guarantee that more money will be added.
The well compensation grant program provides partial cost sharing for the following activities:
Water testing if it shows that the well is contaminated;
Reconstructing a contaminated well;
Constructing a new well;
Connection to an existing private or public water supply;
Installation of a new pump, including the assocaited piping;
Properly abandoning the contaminated well;
Equipment for water treatment (if no other option is feasible);
Providing a temporary bottled or trucked water supply;
Other cost if deemed necessary and approved by the DNR Water Supply staff.
The eligible cost amounts for these activities are set by DNR funding tables. Well construction work must be done according to DNR specifications and the contaminated well must be properly abandoned and filled before payment will be made.
IMPORTANT: The costs for any work done before your claim acquires DNR approval and grant award acceptance of signed documents by the DNR is NOT eligible for payment. In addition, you must notify the Regional Private Water Supply Specialist 48 hours before the work is to start.
Eligible Contaminated Private Water Supply:
The owner of a private water supply has received a “Health Advisory Letter” from the DNR after July 1, 1984 indicating that the water supply exceeds a health related state or federal drinking water standard for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate?
The results of two water tests for the same private water supply, taken at least two weeks apart and not more than 2 years apart, were analyzed by a certified laboratory and indicate that the private water supply exceeds a health related state or federal drinking water standard for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate?
Examples of these well contaminants are heavy metals such as lead, mercury, pesticides, and volatile organic chemicals contained in products such as industrial solvents, degreasers, paint, gasoline, and fuel oil.
EXCEPTIONS TO OTHER THAN BACTERIA OR NITRATE CONTAMINATION:
(Note that the sampling and DNR advisory criteria indicated above apply.)
Arsenic contaminated private water supply. Water from the existing private water supply produces water with an arsenic concentration at or exceeding 50 ug/l (parts per billion).
Private water supply produces water containing nitrates in excess of 40 parts per million expressed as nitrate-nitrogen. (1) Is a livestock water supply or is a residential water supply which is used as a source of potable water for livestock as well as for a residence; AND (2) Is used at least 3 months each year and while in use provides an estimated average of more than 100 gallons per day for consumption by livestock.
Livestock Fecal bacteria contaminated wells AND DNR declaration of an “Area of Special Eligibility:” The DNR may declare an area of special eligibility for compensation for well contamination, based on contamination reported after December 31, 2005, if all of the following criteria are satisfied: (1) Results of tests performed by a laboratory certified under s. 299.11 establish that wells in the area are contaminated by fecal bacteria; AND (2) Evidence demonstrates that the bacterial contamination is caused by livestock.
Grant Award and DNR Program Manager Contacts:
The maximum grant award allowed for the Well Compensation Program grant is $9,000 or 75% of the cost if the total water supply replacement cost is less than $12,000. This grant award is issued for one year, a time extension may be requested if reasons are justified for not completing the work within the one year grant period.
After the DNR Water Supply Staff have completed and approved the application claim. This application claim is sent to the Well Compensation Program DNR Grant Manager in the Madison central office, Bureau of Community Financial Assistance. On receipt of the DNR approved application claim, the DNR Grant Manager completes the final check for complete submittal, reviews and approves for a grant award. The DNR Grant Manager calculates the cost estimate summary that is included within the grant award document. Please be advised that this is an estimate and a final calculation will be conducted by the DNR Grant Manager from the actual cost submitted after the water supply replacement work has been completed.
You will receive a grant award package in the mail from the DNR Grant Manager: Enclosed for you to keep is your copy of the grant award document and payment claim forms to be completed when the water supply replacement work is completed. The grant award package will also include documents to be completed, signed, dated and returned to the DNR Grant Manager: (1) DNR Copy of the grant award (2) W9 form (3) Financial Hardship letter (only included if eligible – see applicant’s share of cost below for explanation).
Jeff Soellner , Grant Manager
Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Community Financial Assistance
101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
Phone: (608) 267-7152 (608) 267-7152
Thomas Riewe, Program Manager & Private Water Systems Hydrogeologist
Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Drinking Water & Groundwater
101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
Phone: (608) 266-8697 (608) 266-8697
Claimants Share of Cost:
The claimant is responsible for the remaining water supply replacement cost not provided by the Well Compensation Program grant if NOT eligible for “Financial Hardship Funding” below:
FINANCIAL HARDSHIP FUNDING:
Claimants whose family income meets the 50% of HUD estimated current County Median Income may be eligible for additional supplemental Financial Hardship Funding from the State Environmental Fund to cover the remaining cost minus a $250.00 deductible.
Claimants whose family income meets the 75% of HUD estimated current County Median Income may be eligible for additional supplemental financial hardship funding from the State Environmental Fund to cover half of the remaining cost minus a $250.00 deductible.
The determination of eligibility for financial hardship funding is determined by the Well Compensation Program DNR Grant Manager from a copy of the claimant’s Wisconsin Tax form that is submitted with the application claim. IF eligible for financial hardship funding, a letter form will be provided with your grant award package for signature and the amount of financial hardship funding will be included in your cost estimate summary within the grant award document indicating the cost estimate of funding including Well Compensation and Financial Hardship.
The Well Compensation Program claimant is responsible for providing payment to the contractors servicing the private water supply replacement from the payment provided from this grant award. Any remaining costs are the responsibility of the private water supply owner and not the DNR.
Payment may not be made for ineligible cost. Ineligible costs include the following items:
The replacement of springs and dug wells;
Work done before your claim acquires DNR approval and grant award acceptance of signed documents by the DNR or DNR proceed notice;
Water supply replacement work started prior to 48 hour notification to the Regional Water supply Specialist;
A replacement well greater than 7 inches in outside diameter (O.D.)
a replacement well screen greater than 10 feet in length;
Any consulting, engineering or cost estimating fees;
Any state, county or local permit fees;
Relocation, replacement or abandonment of sewer piping, buried gasoline or fuel tanks, or other similar items.
Any costs incurred in the installation of a replacement water supply or equipment used for treating the contaminated private water supply that are not approved by the DNR.
Any costs incurred in the installation of equipment used for treating a replacement water supply, except as provided in section NR 123.26 and approved by the DNR.
Mileage, phone, postage, and other miscellaneous costs incurred by the claimant.
Any land acquisitions, municipal administrative costs, laboratory facilities, fire protection and municipal water treatment facilities other than for continuous chlorination, or treatment of surface water supplies.
The claimant’s share of any assessment for distribution mains that are not necessary to provide a municipal water supply to dwelling units eligible under section NR 123.20.
The claimant submits a claim to replace a contaminated public water supply that is connected to 15 or more dwelling units.
More than two claims submitted within 10 years for the same contaminated water supply.
Claimant’s family income exceeds $65,000 (annual family income is based upon the adjusted gross income of the landowner or lessee and landowner’s or lessee’s spouse as computed for Wisconsin income tax purposes for the prior year to the application claim).
Fraudulent application claims.
Other items not listed in this section as required by ch. NR 123, Wis. Adm. Code, and under s. 281.75, State Statutes.
Water supplies contaminated through the plumbing connected to the wells.
Water supplies contaminated intentionally to obtain financial assistance.
Water supplies contaminated by bacteria or nitrates or both and is not contaminated by any other substance other than the following exceptions:
Arsenic contaminated wells must be over 50 parts per billion.
Nitrate expressed as nitrogen contaminated wells serving livestock with at least 40 parts per million.
Livestock Fecal bacteria contaminated wells AND DNR declaration of an “Area of Special Eligibility.”
During the grant period:
Important: You need to give a copy of the Grant Award document to your water supply replacement contractor before construction begins. Further, you must also notify your Regional DNR Private Water Supply Specialist at least 48 hours before the work is to start.
You have one year from the date of the grant award document to complete the replacement of your water supply, abandon your old well, if applicable, and request payment on this grant. Unless an extension is submitted in writing to your Regional DNR Private Water Supply Specialist prior to the expiration date, the grant award will expire one year from the date of issuance.
How to submit a payment claim:
After construction is completed, your well driller should help you fill out the Itemized Estimate Sheet (8700-175) to reflect actual construction specifications and costs, this form will be enclosed with your grant award package. Your well driller should also provide you with the Well Abandonment Report Form for the contaminated well. In addition, you need to complete and sign the Request for Payment Form (8700-176), also enclosed with your grant award package.
To request payment: Completed forms 8700-175, 8700-176, and the Well Abandonment Report Form should be sent to your Regional DNR Private Water Supply Specialist. The Regional DNR Private Water Supply Specialist will need to complete a field inspection to verify compliance, continue completion of the payment claim package, and approve the final cost. After all required DNR Water Supply staff approvals are obtained, the payment claim application is provided to the Grant Program Manager for processing of the final payment letter and the grant award check.