More about Section 319 program

Congress amended the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1987 to establish the Section 319 Nonpoint Source (NPS) Management Program because it recognized the need for greater federal leadership to help focus state and local NPS efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories, and Indian Tribes receive grant money that supports a wide variety of activities to assess the success of specific NPS implementation projects. Section 319 funds are dedicated to implementing activities derived from a TMDL (total maximum daily load) study.

TMDLs are part of the federal Clean Water Act. Water quality standards define how much of a pollutant can be in surface and/or ground water while still allowing it to meet its designated uses, such as for drinking water, fishing, swimming, irrigation or industrial purposes. Many of Minnesota's water resources cannot currently meet their designated uses because of pollution problems from a combination of point and nonpoint sources. For each pollutant that causes a water body to fail to meet state water quality standards, the federal Clean Water Act requires the MPCA to conduct a TMDL study. Once the study is conducted, a plan with various implementation steps is developed to restore the water resource back to its designated use. Section 319 money is used for these implementation activities.

During the last 15 years, our country has made significant headway in addressing NPS pollution. At the federal level, recent NPS control programs include the NPS Management Program established by the 1987 Clean Water Act Amendments, and the Coastal NPS Pollution Program established by the 1990 Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments. Other recent federal programs, as well as state, territorial, tribal and local programs also tackle NPS problems. More information is available from the following links:

Typical projects

Section 319 projects are implementation-oriented and must offer a means of moving towards a resolution of the non-point source pollution problems identified as part of the project.

Recent projects include: phosphorus reduction activities in Fulda Lake,  activities in High Island Creek to reduce fecal coliform, a feasibility study for potential activities in the Kingston Wetland, nutrient reduction activities for Kohlman Lake and activities to reduce nonpoint source pollution in Redwood Lake.

Level of funding: Grant

For the past several years over $2.5 million has been available for funding nonpoint source projects through the Section 319 program. The funding is dependent on the federal budget and is based on the federal fiscal year, which runs from October 1 through September 30.

TMDLs are part of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). Water quality standards define how much of a pollutant can be in surface and/or ground water while still allowing it to meet its designated uses, such as for drinking water, fishing, swimming, irrigation or industrial purposes. Many of Minnesota's water resources cannot currently meet their designated uses because of pollution problems from a combination of point and nonpoint sources. For each pollutant that causes a water body to fail to meet state water quality standards, the federal Clean Water Act requires the MPCA to conduct a TMDL study. Once the study is conducted, a plan with various implementation steps is developed to restore the water resource back to its designated use. Section 319 money is used for these implementation activities.

More information on Section 319 program requirements can be found on the U.S. EPA Web site:

Contact

Cindy Penny
Watershed Division
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4194
651-757-2099