Recharge Funding

Groundwater recharge project sites

Intel Massachusetts, Inc. (Intel) is seeking proposals for the design and construction of projects that will recharge aquifers in the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord river watersheds. One goal of these projects is to increase the volume of base flow (groundwater) in the river and its tributaries during the annual low flow period of July through September. Increased base flow will dilute wastewater effluent in the river and protect aquatic life in the tributary streams. The other goal of the fund is to enhance the long-term sustainability of municipal water supply wells and reservoirs.

The Assabet River suffers from severe eutrophication caused largely by excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) contributed by seven wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff and sediments. As a result, the river does not meet its water quality standard (Class B, Fishable and Swimmable). An analysis of the pollutant load (Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL) was completed in 2001.

Based on the TMDL analysis, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) require significant reductions in the amount of phosphorus in wastewater effluent beginning in 2010. The necessary wastewater treatment plant upgrades are now in progress.

During the low-flow period of July-September, base flow (inflow from groundwater) is generally the river's only source of clean water. Base flow dilutes the nutrients and other pollutants and keeps the Assabet tributaries from drying up. Under average summer conditions, wastewater effluent represents about 32% of the river flow. However, under low flow (7Q10) conditions, 80% of the Assabet River consists of wastewater effluent, as measured at Maynard.

Base flow can be increased and sustained by increasing recharge of aquifers in the watershed. However, the current trend is a reduction in base flow by groundwater withdrawals by wells, surface water withdrawals, growing areas of impervious surfaces created by urbanization, and sewering. The fund aims to help reverse this trend by returning water to the aquifers.

Another important reason to recharge aquifers in the Assabet watershed is to ensure that existing municipal water supply wells and reservoirs continue to provide adequate water. Many sub-basins in the Assabet watershed currently discharge significantly more groundwater than is recharged each year. Without adequate recharge, many aquifers will become less productive and will be unable to meet our future drinking water needs.

Examples of potential groundwater recharge projects
The goals of the Intel Assabet River Recharge Fund ("the Fund") can be achieved through a variety of projects. For example, projects that capture, store and infiltrate stormwater that would otherwise be discharged directly to a stream via an existing storm drain system; projects that recharge aquifers with highly-treated wastewater effluent from an existing regional or package wastewater treatment plant; and projects that install storm water storage systems such as cisterns/dry well retention systems for existing residential and commercial properties, are eligible.
Projects may be implemented on private or public land. If the proponent is not the property owner, a letter of support from the property owner should be included in proposal, including a statement that the land is suited to the proposed use.

Municipalities located in the Assabet River watershed and private, nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive funding. A consultant may submit a Letter of Interest and the full proposal on behalf of a town or private, nonprofit organization.

Grant size
The maximum grant is $500,000. Smaller projects are also encouraged. Multiple applicants may be selected and multiple projects by one applicant may be selected.

Application procedures and deadlines
Project proponents first submit a Letter of Interest. The Intel Fund Selection Committee will review the Letters of Interest based on the Selection Criteria listed below. Based on this review the Committee will invite selected proponents to submit full proposals.

Two copies of a Letter of Interest and any supporting materials should be submitted to the Intel Assabet River Recharge Fund c/o OARS, 23 Bradford Street, Concord MA 01742.

Step 1: Currently not accepting Letters of Interest. Please check back here for next submital date.
Step 2:Letters of Interest evaluated by Selection Committee
Step 3: Committee invites selected proponents to submit full proposals.
Step 4: Technical subcommittee reviews each proposal to verify technical feasibility
Step 5: Selection Committee reviews full proposals, interviews proponents if necessary
Step 6: Proposal(s) selected for funding
Step 7: All proponents will be notified of funding decisions.

Required elements of letters of interest
The Letter of Interest shall include a project abstract, a brief explanation of how the project meets the goals of the Fund, and a budget summary. The Letter shall not exceed three, single-sided pages, excluding supporting materials.

Selection criteria
Letters of Interest and full proposals will be evaluated by the Selection Committee based on the following criteria:

1. Likelihood that the project will be successful.
2. Volume of recharge.
3. Location of the project where recharge is likely to improve flow in the Assabet River or a tributary experiencing low flow problems.
4. Commitment of additional (matching) funding or other significant resources to the project by the proponent.
5. Ability of the proponent to ensure proper operation and maintenance of the project throughout its useful life.
6. Extent to which the project exceeds existing environmental standards and regulatory requirements.
7. Likely impact on public awareness.
8. Replicability in the watershed.

Required elements of full proposals

Proposals shall include:
An overview of the project explaining how the project meets the goals of the Fund.

A scope of work describing all tasks and deliverables. Projects must be completed within 3 years of the project start date.

A work plan for timely execution of each task and a milestone schedule which specifies when deliverables will be completed for each task. The work plan shall include a project operation and maintenance plan as a deliverable.

A budget with costs for each deliverable, and a budget summary for the entire project including, at a minimum, the following expense item categories:
Subcontractor services
Overhead (indirect costs)

Note: No more than 20% of the budget may be spent on planning and design. Budget should include other resources, cash or in-kind, dedicated to the project.

A narrative statement describing the qualifications of the project manager and contractors.
In addition, the narrative should include the following information:

An estimate of how much water would be recharged by the project in terms of average annual gallons per day, and a description of how the volume of recharge is expected to vary on a daily and monthly basis over the course of a calendar year.

An estimate of how recharge would affect base flow delivery to the Assabet main stem and/or one or more of its tributaries during the annual low flow period.

A description of impacts of the proposed project on groundwater and surface water during seasons other than the low flow season.

A statement explaining to what extent the proposed project satisfies local, state or federal environmental standards and regulatory requirements (e.g., State Stormwater Policy, EPA Phase 2 stormwater Regulations, Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan, etc.).

A statement describing how the proponent will ensure that the project is operated as intended and is properly maintained for the duration of its useful life. The statement must also define the "useful life" of the project.

A brief description of local, state and federal permits needed for this project. A plan and schedule for securing these permits.

A description of how the success of the project will be evaluated.

A description of how progress on the project will be reported.

Oversight of project(s)
An oversight committee consisting of representatives from Intel, the OARS, and Mass. DEP will oversee administration of the funds. The proponent, however, is responsible for project management and accountability. A Completion Report is required at the end of the project.

Disbursement of funds
Determined on a case-by-case basis.