[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 211 (Thursday, October 31, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66395-66397]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-27705]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-7402-9]


Notice of Request for Initial Proposals (IPs) for Projects To Be 
Funded From the Water Quality Cooperative Agreement Allocation (CFDA 
66.463--Water Quality Cooperative Agreements)

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: EPA is soliciting Initial Proposals (IPs) from States, Tribes, 
local governments, universities, non-profits, and other eligible 
entities interested in applying for Federal assistance for Water 
Quality Cooperative Agreements (CFDA 66.463) under the Clean Water Act 
(CWA) section 104(b)(3). EPA Headquarters intends to award an estimated 
$3.1 million to eligible applicants through assistance agreements 
ranging in size from $10,000 up to $500,000 for Water Quality 
Cooperative Agreements, which are for unique and innovative projects 
that address the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination Systems (NPDES) program with special emphasis on wet 
weather activities, i.e., storm water, combined sewer overflows, 
sanitary sewer overflows, and concentrated animal feeding operations as 
well as projects that enhance the ability of the regulated community to 
deal with non-traditional pollution problems in priority watersheds. 
From the IPs received, EPA estimates that 30 to 35 projects may be 
selected to submit full applications.
    The Agency intends to make available at least $200,000 per year of 
the annual appropriation for Water Quality Cooperative Agreements, from 
FY 2001 through FY 2005, for projects which address cooling water 
intake issues to include technical and environmental studies. For FY 
2003 it is expected that $250,000 will be available for projects 
addressing cooling water intake issues.
    The Agency reserves the right to reject all IPs and make no awards.

DATES: EPA will consider IPs received on or before 5 p.m. Eastern Time, 
December 30, 2002. IPs received after the due date, may be reviewed at 
EPA's discretion.

ADDRESSES: It is preferred that IPs be electronically mailed (E-mailed) 
to WQCA2003@EPA.GOV. If mailed through the postal service or other 
means, three copies should be sent to: Barry Benroth, 4204M, WQCA2003, 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., 
Washington, DC 20460.
    The following address must be used for delivery of the copies by an 
overnight delivery or courier service: Barry Benroth, 4204M, WQCA2003, 
Phone 202-564-0672, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Room 7324 J, 
EPA East, 1201 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry Benroth by telephone at 202-564-
0672 or by E-mail at benroth.barry@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose of This Request Is for Initial Proposals

    The Office of Wastewater Management, Office of Water at EPA 
Headquarters is requesting IPs from States, Tribes, local governments, 
non-profit organizations and other eligible entities under the Clean 
Water Act section 104(b)(3) for unique and innovative projects that 
address the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination Systems (NPDES) program with special emphasis on wet 
weather activities, i.e., storm water, combined sewer overflows, 
sanitary sewer overflows, and concentrated animal feeding operations as 
well as projects that enhance the ability of the regulated community to 
deal with non-traditional pollution problems in priority watersheds.
    An organization whose IP is selected for possible Federal 
assistance must complete and EPA Application for Assistance, including 
the Federal SF-424 form (Application for Federal Assistance, see 40 CFR 
30.12 and 31.10).
    Organizations who have an existing agreement under this program are 
eligible to compete with proposals for new awards.

The Office of Wastewater Management, Office of Water, EPA Headquarters 
Has Identified the Following High Priority Areas for Consideration

    WQCAs awarded under section 104(b)(3) may only be used to conduct 
and promote the coordination and acceleration of activities such as 
research, investigations, experiments, training, education, 
demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effect, 
extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution. 
These activities, while not defined in the statute, advance the state 
of knowledge, gather information, or transfer information. For 
instance, ``demonstrations'' are generally projects that demonstrate 
new or experimental technologies, methods, or approaches and the 
results of the project will be disseminated so that others can benefit 
from the knowledge gained. A project that is accomplished through the 
performance of routine, traditional, or established practices, or a 
project that is simply intended to carry out a task rather than 
transfer information or advance the state of knowledge, however 
worthwhile the project may be, is not a demonstration. Research 
projects may include the application of established practices when they 
contribute to learning about an environmental concept or problem.
    The Office of Wastewater Management at EPA Headquarters has 
identified several subject areas for priority consideration. EPA will 
award WQCAs for research, investigations, experiments, training, 
demonstrations, surveys and studies related to the causes, effects, 
extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution in 
the following subject areas:

Impacts of Wet Weather Flows

Trends in load reduction due to implementation of storm water
Best Management Practices (BMPs) including means of measuring 
effectiveness of BMPs
Storm water monitoring techniques
Efficient and effective reduction of Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO)
Impacts of sewage overflows
Impacts of peak wet weather flows on Publicly Owned Treatment Works 
(POTW)
Environmental effectiveness of sewer separation
Compliance with Storm Water Phase II

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program 
Strategies To Implement Watershed-Based Efforts

Watershed Integration of Water Programs under CWA & Safe Drinking Water 
Act (SDWA)
Alternative markets or treatments for excess manure
Nutrient loading reduction through trading

[[Page 66396]]

Ballast Water Treatment

On-board treatment or marine disposal technologies for various ships
Sediments that have collected in ballast tanks
Fate and transport in marine, estuary, and fresh water systems of any 
use of biocides (e.g. chlorine derivatives) to treat ballast water

Onsite/Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems

Effective State-level adoption of EPA management guidelines in reducing 
water pollution
Institutional, regulatory and funding barriers and solutions to 
implementation of decentralized options
Tools for conducting comprehensive, watershed-wide assessments of risks 
associated with decentralized wastewater systems

Management Systems for Water Pollution Control Programs Asset 
Management

Strategic best practice governance and business models of asset 
management
Methodologies and best practice applications and approaches for asset 
management
Tools and techniques for incorporating asset management into the day-
to-day management of utilities
Municipal water efficiency and water demand management for 
infrastructure cost reduction or water pollution prevention

Environmental Management Systems for Water Pollution Control

Public Agency and Agriculture EMSs
Integrated utility-wide EMSs that also incorporate asset management, 
bench marking, and other management tools

Program Innovations

Program and management efficiencies and innovations in such areas as 
permit issuance, data collection/submission, program integration, water 
quality standards development, TMDLs, monitoring, inspections, and 
compliance
Innovative approaches to address operations and maintenance (O&M) 
issues for small communities, including tribes
Innovative approaches or methods to help communities and tribes build 
capacity to develop and manage water quality/wastewater programs
Innovative pretreatment tools or pilot projects for program development 
and implementation for disadvantaged communities, including the Mexican 
Border
Tools for environmental/public health improvements on the U.S./Mexican 
Border on a watershed basis

Wastewater Infrastructure Security

Innovative approaches or methods to reduce risk of terrorist or other 
attacks in: handling and storage of hazardous chemicals used at WWTPs; 
general WWTP site security at main and remote locations; wireless 
control systems (SCADA); sanitary or storm sewer collection systems
Early detection of chemical or biological agents which could 
contaminate or disrupt the WWTP
Ability of conventional or innovative WWTP processes to treat, remove 
or render harmless biological, chemical, or radiological agents which 
could be introduced into the collection or treatment system

Cooling Water Intake Structures (Clean Water Act, Section 316(b))

Reduction of impingement and entrainment of aquatic organisms into 
cooling water intakes
Ecological effects of cooling water intake structures on aquatic 
environments
Effectiveness of ecological restoration activities in reducing the 
impact of cooling water intake structures on the aquatic environment

    EPA may also consider other project areas for funding to the extent 
authorized by CWA section 104(b)(3) and to the extent funds are 
available for such project areas.

Statutory Authority, Applicable Regulations, and Funding Level

    Water Quality Cooperative Agreements are awarded under the 
authority of section 104(b)(3) of the Clean Water Act section 
104(b)(3), (33 U.S.C. 1254(b)(3)).
    The regulations governing the award and administration of Water 
Quality Cooperative Agreements are 40 CFR part 30 (for institutions of 
higher learning, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations) and 40 
CFR part 31 and 40 CFR part 35, subparts A and B (for States, Tribes, 
local governments, intertribal consortia, and interstate agencies).

Intergovernmental Review

    Applicants requested to submit a full application will be required 
to comply with Intergovernmental Review requirements (40 CFR part 29).
    Total funding available for award by Headquarters will depend on 
EPA's appropriation for Fiscal Year 2003; however, it is estimated that 
$3.1 million will be available for funding approved projects. The 
average size of an award is anticipated to be approximately $100,000.
    Should funding available for award remain reasonably stable or 
increase in future years, the Agency intends to reserve $200,000 per 
year of the annual amount available for Fiscal Year 2004 and 2005 to 
support projects and studies on cooling water intake structures. This 
is an addition to the $600,000 made available or planned for FY 2001 
through FY 2003.
    Construction projects, except for the construction required to 
carry out a demonstration project, and acquisition of land are not 
eligible for funding under this program. New or on-going programs to 
implement environmental controls are not eligible for funding under 
this program.

Request For Initial Proposal Format and Contents

    IPs should be limited to three pages. Full application packages 
should not be submitted at this time. It is recommended that 
confidential information not be included in the IP. The following 
format should be used for all IPs:
    Name of Project:
    Point of contract: (Individual and Organization Name, Address, 
Phone Number, Fax Number, E-mail Address)
    Is This a Continuation of a Previously Funded Project (if so, 
please provide the number and status of the current grant or 
cooperative agreement):
    Proposed Award Amount:
    Proposed Awardee Cost Share: (Cost sharing is not required).
    Description of General Budget Proposed to Support Project:
    Project Area: (based on areas of interest shown above).
    Project Description: (Should not exceed two pages of single-spaced 
text).
    Expected Accomplishments or Product, with Dates, and Interim 
Milestones: This section should also include a discussion of a 
communication plan for distributing the project results to interested 
parties.
    Describe How the Project Meets the Evaluation Criteria Specified 
Below:

EPA IP Evaluation Criteria

    EPA will award Water Quality Cooperative Agreements on a 
competitive basis and evaluate IPs based on the following criteria:
    [sbull] The relationship of the proposed project to the priorities 
identified in this notice.
    [sbull] How well the project proposes to address a nationally 
important need, issue, or interest.

[[Page 66397]]

    [sbull] Communication plan to transfer results of the project to 
other potentially interested parties.
    [sbull] How well the project furthers the goal of the Clean Water 
Act to prevent, reduce, and eliminate water pollution.
    [sbull] Leverage of other resources (e.g., cost share, 
participation by other organizations) as part of the proposed approach.
    [sbull] Cost effectiveness of the proposal.
    [sbull] Compliance with directions for submittal contained in this 
notice.
    The IPs will be evaluated by EPA staff on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 
being low and 5 being high. The criteria above will have essentially 
equal weight. EPA may consider EPs even if all criteria are not fully 
met, provided the projects meet the applicable statutory and regulatory 
requirements and funds are available for such projects.

IP Selection

    Final selection of IPs will be made by the Director, Office of 
Wastewater Management. Selected organizations will be notified and 
requested to submit a full application. It is expected that 
unsuccessful applicants will be notified by e-mail.

Eligible Applicants

    Eligible applicants for assistance agreements under section 
104(b)(3) of the Clean Water Act are State water pollution control 
agencies. Tribal governments, intertribal consortia, interstate 
agencies, and other public or non-profit private agencies, 
institutions, and organizations.

Application Procedure

    Electronic transmittal of IPs is preferred to facilitate the review 
process. Hard copies are acceptable. Please send three copies of the 
IPs if it is not electronically transmitted.

Dispute Resolution Process

    Procedures at 40 CFR 30.63 and 40 CFR 31.70 apply.

Type of Assistance

    It is expected that all the awards under this program will be 
cooperative agreements. States, interstate agencies, federally 
recognized tribes, and intertribal consortia meeting the requirements 
at 40 CFR 35.504 may include the funds for Water Quality Cooperative 
Agreements in a Performance Partnership Grant (PPG) in accordance with 
the regulations governing PPGs at 40 CFR part 35, subparts A and B. For 
states and interstate agencies that choose to do so, the regulations 
provide that the work plan commitments that would have been included in 
the WQCA must be included in the PPG work plan. A description of the 
Agency's substantial involvement in cooperative agreements will be 
included in the final agreement.
Schedule of Activities
    This is the estimated schedule of activities for submission, review 
of proposals and notification of selections:
    December 30, 2002--RFIPs due to EPA.
    February 10, 2003--Initial approvals identified and sponsors of 
projects selected for funding will be requested to submit a formal 
application package. Schedule may be modified based on the level of 
response.
    A list of selected projects will be posted on the Office of 
Wastewater Management Web site http://www.epa.gov/owm/FY2003WQCA. This 
Web site may also contain additional information about this request. 
Deadline extensions, if any, will be posted on this web site and not in 
the Federal Register.

    Dated: October 18, 2002.
James A. Hanlon,
Director, Office of Wastewater Management.
[FR Doc. 02-27705 Filed 10-30-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-M