Well Compensation Grant Program

Well Compensation grants are for replacing, reconstructing or treating contaminated private water supplies that serve a residence or are for watering livestock. Contamination must be determined by the DNR, and only prior approved work will be reimbursed. Well construction work must be done according to DNR specifications and the contaminated well be properly abandoned before payment is made.

Who can apply

Eligible applicants

All of the following are eligible to apply for this grant with a chemically contaminated private water supply that serves a residence or is used for watering livestock. Contamination must be determined by DNR.

  • Landowner
  • 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 (maximum of $9,000 per contaminated well)
Definition of a "chemically contaminated private water supply"

A private water supply is declared chemically contaminated when the DNR issues a "Health Advisory Letter" for a private water supply, indicating the water exceeds a health-related state or federal drinking water standard for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate.

This may also occur when the results of two water tests for the same private water supply, analyzed by a certified laboratory, indicate the water exceeds a health-related state or federal drinking water standard for contaminants other than bacteria or nitrate. The samples must have been taken at least two weeks apart and not more than two years apart.

Examples of "other than bacteria or nitrate contaminants"

Contamination other than bacteria or nitrates can include heavy metals (e.g. 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
  • 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, if all of the following criteria are satisfied: (1) results of tests performed by a laboratory certified under s. 299.11, Wis. Stats., establish that wells in the area are contaminated by fecal bacteria; and (2) evidence demonstrates that the bacterial contamination is caused by livestock.

Start by working with your regional private water supply specialist.

Eligibility

Eligible projects

  • Water testing if results indicate the well is contaminated
  • Reconstructing a contaminated well
  • Constructing a new well
  • Connecting to an existing private or public water supply
  • Installing a new pump, including the associated piping
  • Properly abandoning the contaminated well
  • Equipment for water treatment (if no other option is feasible)
  • Providing a temporary bottled or trucked water supply

The Well Compensation Program claimant is responsible for providing payment to the contractors servicing the private water supply replacement from the grant payment provided. Any remaining costs are the responsibility of the private water supply owner and not the DNR.

Ineligible projects

  • Wells serving commercial establishments
  • Private wells that do not meet the contamination criteria established
  • Annual family income above $65,000. Reductions for family income above $45,000 (see detail below).
  • Costs for any work done before claim is filed and approved by the DNR

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.

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 percent of Department of Administration (DOA) 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 deductible.
  • Claimants whose family income meets the 75 percent of DOA 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 deductible.

The determination of eligibility for financial hardship funding is determined by the Well Compensation Program 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 form letter 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.

How to apply

Applications may be submitted at any time. Start by working with your regional private water supply specialist.

Application materials

Required attachments

  • Letter from owner (if different than claimant and owner's signature is not on the front of this claim form)
  • Plat map of the well location, including __ 1/4 of __ 1/4 of section __ Town __ N, Range __ E or W, Township __ , __ County
  • DNR advisory, or lab results, or both
  • Copy of well construction report for the existing, contaminated well
  • Detailed description of all feasible alternatives
  • DNR field inspection report (Form 3300-026) (Use of the form is optional. You must submit documentation, at least, that the existing well is not a dug well.)
  • State of Wisconsin Income Tax Return for prior year (Not Federal Return)

Remember to sign the affidavit (Section VI of Form 8700-174) and have it notarized by a notary public.

No work can be reimbursed if started before the application is submitted and approval letter received.

If your financial situation has recently changed

If your income changed significantly from last year, due to job loss or retirement, then use one of the following documents.

Send the application, map and income documentation to the DNR Water Supply person that you are working with. Do not do any work until you get the approval letter back from the DNR. No reimbursement will be sent for work completed before receiving the approval letter.

For grantees

Grant awards

You will receive a grant award package in the mail from the DNR grant manager. Enclosed is your copy of the grant award document and payment claim forms to be completed when the water supply replacement work is finished.

The grant award package will also include documents to be completed, signed, dated and returned to the grant manager, including:

  1. a copy of the grant award;
  2. the W9 form; and
  3. financial hardship letter (only included if eligible - see applicant's share of cost below for explanation).

At this point you must contract with your licensed well driller or licensed pump installer to do the work that is specified in the grant agreement.

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.

Grant timeline

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

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), which is also enclosed with your grant award package.

To request payment

Send completed Form 8700-176 and the Well Abandonment Report Form to your Regional DNR Private Water Supply specialist to receive payment. 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 DNR Water Supply staff approvals are obtained, the payment claim application is sent to the grant program manager for processing of the final payment letter and the grant award check.

Help

Contact information
For well and water questions, contact:
Martin Nessman
Drinking & Groundwater Program Manager
Bureau of Drinking Water & Groundwater
608-267-2449
Your regional private water supply specialist
For grant application and reimbursement questions, contact:
Deb Lyons-Roehl
Drinking & Groundwater Program Manager
Bureau of Drinking Water & Groundwater
608-267-9350
Jeff Soellner
Grant Manager
Bureau of Community Financial Assistance
608-267-7152
Last revised: Monday April 28 2014