FUND-6 (6/22/05 version)
Clean Water Act, Section 319 Grant Program

There are two main sources of Clean Water Act (CWA) funding for nonpoint source pollution projects. These include:

The federal Clean Water Act amendments (1987) created a national program to control nonpoint source pollution under Section 319 of the CWA (33 U.S.C 1329). The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) is the designated water quality agency in Ohio and is responsible, through the Division of Surface Water, for administering the Section 319 Grants Program.

Since 1990, Ohio EPA has received annual Section 319 grants to correct NPS caused impairments to Ohio surface and ground water resources. The majority of funds are then sub-granted by Ohio EPA to local organizations implementing projects designed to eliminate known impairments, restore impaired waters and reduce nonpoint source pollutants. More than 225 projects have been implemented throughout Ohio since 1990, representing an investment of more than $40 million in federal, state and local funding. Education, innovation, cost-sharing and voluntary compliance with locally developed watershed management plans are the cornerstones of the Ohio 319 program.

In the last five years, more than $21 million in Section 319 funds were awarded for local NPS implementation projects. Additional Section 319 grant funding has been dedicated to supporting local Ohio watershed planning efforts and the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Reports. The integration of local and state watershed-based water quality targets with funding focused on projects to solve water quality impairments is unique to the Ohio 319 program. The importance of this approach to meeting Ohio NPS Management Plan targets cannot be overstated.

Specifically, Section 319 implementation grant funds are prioritized to maximize their ability to assist in reaching Ohio water quality goals, using the following hierarchy:

  • Projects that eliminate identified NPS impairments, particularly in watersheds with approved TMDL Reports and/or state-endorsed watershed plans;
  • Projects that restore impaired waters, with emphasis on those watersheds with approved TMDL Reports and/or state endorsed watershed action plans;
  • Projects that implement NPS pollutant reduction measures identified in state-endorsed components of comprehensive local watershed plans or TMDL Reports at step 8 or above (PDF 490kb);
  • Projects that implement NPS pollution prevention measures identified in state-endorsed components of comprehensive local watershed plans or TMDL Reports at step 8 or above.

As of February 2005, 15 Ohio TMDL Reports have received approval by USEPA, 1 TMDL Report is awaiting USEPA approval, 2 TMDL Reports are undergoing public review, and 17 TMDLs are underway. A total of 43 watershed action plans are at different stages of completion. The objectives of both the TMDL and watershed action processes are to meet water quality standards through the establishment and implementation of a science-based, locally-led and sustainable strategies for addressing NPS caused impairments in Ohio waters.