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a private well

A private well.

Well Compensation Grant Program

The well compensation grant program provides funding to eligible landowners or renters to replace, reconstruct or treat contaminated private water supplies that serve a residence or provide water to livestock. To be eligible, family income may not exceed $65,000 for the prior calendar year.

Who can apply

Who can apply

Before you start the application process, determine if you are eligible to apply for a well compensation grant. Work completed before submitting an application and receiving DNR approval will not be reimbursed.

Step 1: Landowner or renter determines if your income is eligible
Step 2: Who can apply for a grant
  • Landowner
  • Spouse of landowner
  • Dependent of landowner
  • Heir of landowner
  • Assignee or legal representative of landowner
  • Renter of land
  • Shared well owner of a private residential water supply

Local governments, school districts and state or federal agencies cannot apply.

Step 3: Landowner or renter determines if contamination is eligible

To determine if your well is contaminated, have samples of your well water tested by a certified laboratory. To be eligible for a well compensation grant the private water supply must be considered contaminated based on one of the following criteria.

  1. Chemical contamination
    • DNR or Department of Health has issued landowner or renter of private water supply advisory letter; and/or
    • the same water supply has been tested twice (at least two weeks apart) and the results exceed the state or federal water standard for contaminants.

    Examples of chemical contaminants include: metals, pesticides, volatile organic chemicals contained in products such as industrial solvents, degreasers, paint, gasoline and fuel oil. Bacteria and nitrate contaminants are excluded.

  2. Arsenic contamination
    • Private water supply has been tested and arsenic concentration at or exceeding 50 ug/l (parts per billion) has been found.
  3. Nitrate contamination
    • Private water supply has been tested and nitrates concentration at or exceeding 40 parts per million expressed as nitrate-nitrogen has been found.
    • These cases are grant-eligible only if a private water supply is used as a source of drinking portable water for both livestock and the residence. The residence must be used at least three months each year and while in use provide an estimated average of more than 100 gallons per day for consumption by livestock.
  4. Bacterial contamination
    • Private water supply has been tested and livestock fecal contamination has been found.
    • Private water supply has been tested and found to have livestock fecal bacteria and is located in a DNR-declared area of special well compensation.
    • If you still have questions regarding contamination after having your well water tested by a certified laboratory, contact a DNR Private Water Supply specialist.

What is eligible

What items are grant eligible

The following items are eligible for reimbursement under the well compensation grant.

Eligible items

  • Water tests that determine if the well is contaminated
  • Reconstruction of a contaminated well
  • Construction of a new well
  • Connecting to an existing private or public water supply
  • Installation of a new pump, including the associated piping for a replaced well
  • Proper abandonment of a contaminated well
  • Equipment for water treatment (if no other option is feasible)
  • Providing a temporary bottled or trucked water supply

Ineligible items

  • Costs for any work done before a claim is filed and award approved by the DNR
  • Wells serving commercial establishments
  • Private wells that do not meet the established contamination criteria
  • Dug wells

How to apply

How to apply

DNR PDF forms

To download DNR forms, use Microsoft Internet Explorer. If this browser is unavailable, see:

If you are still having problems opening your form, please contact the well compensation grant manager.

If you meet the criteria to apply for a well compensation grant, the next step is to apply.

Step 1

Develop a project proposal and estimated costs to replace your contaminated water supply. If you need assistance consult a licensed well driller [PDF] or pump installer [PDF].

Step 2

Fill out the Well Compensation Program Claim (Form 8700-174) [PDF] application.

NOTE: If your current income changed significantly from what was reported on your last year’s income tax report, due to job loss or retirement, complete and submit one of the following documents with your application.

Step 3

Mail completed well compensation program claim application to:

Private Well Grant Manager - CF/2
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707

Step 4

The DNR is only able to review complete applications.

  • Do not do any work until you receive a well compensation grant award approval letter from the DNR. Work completed before receiving the approval letter will not be reimbursed.

Award/follow-up

Award/follow-up

Once you have been awarded a well compensation grant from DNR, you may begin and complete work on your private water supply and request the reimbursement. 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 the grant.

Step 1

DNR will send you an award packet.

Step 2

Landowners or Renters enter into contract with a licensed well driller or licensed pump installer to complete the work that is specified in the grant agreement.

  • Give a copy of the grant award document to the licensed well professional before construction begins.
Step 3

Only licensed well driller or licensed pump installers may complete the work.

  • Well construction work must be done according to DNR specifications that are in the signed grant agreement. The contaminated well must be properly abandoned and filled before payment will be made.
  • Requirement: Notify your DNR Private Water Supply specialist at least 48 hours before the work starts by a licensed well driller or licensed pump installer.
Step 4

Landowner or renter completes and submits all required reimbursement forms to the DNR grant manager:

Step 5

A DNR Private Water Supply specialist will visit the site and complete a field inspection to verify compliance.

Step 6

After all approvals are obtained, the DNR grant manager will process the final payment letter and the grant award check will be mailed to your licensed well driller or licensed pump installer. Landowner or renter must arrange to endorse check so well professional can be paid. If the owner or renter pays the bill in full and provides a paid invoice to DNR then the check can be sent directly to them.

Notes:
  1. Since you will enter into contract with well driller or licenses pump installer for their services, you are responsible to pay 100% of those costs. Learn more about costs.
  2. If your family income is above $45,000, Wisconsin Statutes require that the amount of your reimbursement will be reduced. Learn more about reductions and see an example.
  3. The grant amount you receive is considered taxable income by the IRS and must be reported as income by the DNR. Learn more about taxable income.

Special funding

Financial hardship funding

Eligibility for financial hardship funding is determined by the Well Compensation Program grant manager based on a copy of the claimant’s Wisconsin tax filing from the prior calendar year that is submitted with the grant application.

If you are eligible for financial hardship funding you will need to complete and submit one of the three affidavits found at “how to apply”.

You may qualify for financial hardship funding if:

  • your family income is well below $45,000 per year,
  • your current income changed significantly from what was reported on your last year’s income tax report, due to job loss or retirement.

Help

Contact information
For grant application and reimbursement questions, contact:
Sara deBruijn
Grant Manager
Bureau of Community Financial Assistance
608-266-5742
Last revised: Wednesday July 27 2016