Water Protection Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Kyra Moore

This fact sheet provides an overview of the Abandoned Well Plugging grant program administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Public Drinking Water Branch.


Abandoned water wells provide a direct conduit for surficial contamination of groundwater aquifers and constitute a physical hazard.

Safe Drinking Water Act, §1452(g) and (k), authorize the department to allocate a portion of the Missouri Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to promote wellhead protection awareness, education and implementation. Safeguarding groundwater resources through proper plugging of abandoned water wells is a common sense step communities can take to protect their raw water source. More than 1,200 community public water systems in Missouri (serving approximately 2.1 million Missourians) use groundwater as the sole or primary source of raw drinking water. 


Promote awareness of the benefits of protecting groundwater aquifers through source water protection planning and proper plugging of abandoned drinking water wells. Provide financial assistance to groundwater-based community and not-for-profit noncommunity public water systems to identify and properly plug abandoned drinking water wells in accordance with all state and federal regulations and requirements.

Eligible Costs

Eligible project costs include materials and supplies necessary to properly plug an abandoned well in accordance with Missouri’s Well Construction Rules (10 CSR 23-3.110) or contractual costs for a permitted well driller or pump installer to complete the plugging work. Nominal project oversight or consulting fees may be reimbursable on a case-by-case basis. Costs not reimbursable through this program may qualify as match (review Limitations section below). While plugging multifamily and domestic water wells does not require cost-share, plugging wells built to public well standards requires a 25% cost-share of each well or in-kind match (refer to 10 CSR 23-3.030 for additional information on water well construction standards).

Applicant Eligibility

Community and not-for-profit noncommunity public water systems with at least one active or emergency well are eligible to apply for reimbursement funding through this program. Non-producing public water systems are only eligible to apply for funding if they own one or more public water wells that were deactivated following interconnection to a primary, groundwater-based, community public water system within the last five calendar years and the well meets the definition of an abandoned well as defined in section 256.603, RSMo. To qualify for assistance, public water systems must either be compliant with all state and federal drinking water regulations, or formally working toward compliance. 

Project Eligibility

Projects must focus on proper plugging of abandoned drinking water wells that, if left unplugged, may present a contamination risk to groundwater resources used by a regulated public water system. Incentives and public information activities are not eligible for funding. Costs incurred prior to full execution of a financial assistance agreement between the department and the awardee are not eligible for reimbursement.

Specific Requirements

All well-plugging activities must comply with Missouri’s Well Construction Rules as described in 10 CSR 23-3.110. Plugging specifications for public water wells are required and available from the Missouri Geological Survey’s Well Installation Section. All well plugging registration records must be filed with the Well Installation Section. Well-plugging costs are only reimbursable if a licensed well driller or pump installation contractor who is permitted to operate in Missouri performs the work (this applies to all wells plugged through this program).

Grant conditions and federal requirements apply to projects funded in part, or in whole, with available funds. Full and complete grant terms and conditions will be provided upon notification of award; however, a summary of significant and new requirements is provided below. By applying for this award, the applicant verifies that it, its board of directors, and all principals are currently in compliance with all state and federal environmental laws and court orders issued pursuant to those laws, and that all environmental violations have been resolved at the time of this application. The department will not make an award at any time, to any party, which is debarred or suspended, under federal or state authority, or is otherwise excluded from or ineligible for participation in federal assistance under Executive Order 12549, “Debarment and Suspension.” 

For more details on the federal requirements related to costs, applicants can refer to the Federal Office of Management and Budget requirements as it relates to applicant type below:

Applicant Types
Institution Cost Principals Audits
State and Local Governments 2 CFR 225 2 CFR Subpart F
Nonprofit Organizations  2 CFR 230 2 CFR Subpart F

The circulars are available for download from the Office of Management and Budget Circulars

The department's Federal Subgrants General Terms and Conditions apply to all projects funded through this program. These general terms and conditions highlight requirements that are especially pertinent to federal subawards made by the department. These programmatic, administrative and national policy requirements do not set out all of the provisions of the applicable laws and regulations, nor do they represent an exhaustive list of all requirements applicable to this award. These terms and conditions are emphasized here because they are frequently invoked and their violation is of serious concern. In addition to these provisions, the subawardee must comply with all governing requirements of their subaward, including the federal Common Rule (adopted by federal agencies and contained in the specific Codes of Federal Regulation, for each federal agency, under the title “Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments”). The Common Rule is fully incorporated by reference into these terms and conditions.

All project applicants must complete and submit an affidavit of work authorization and documentation. The subawardee shall only employ personnel authorized to work in the United States in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. This includes, but is not limited to, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and INA Section 274A.

If the subawardee is found to be in violation of this requirement or the applicable state, federal, and local laws and regulations, and if the State of Missouri has reasonable cause to believe that the subawardee has knowingly employed individuals who are not eligible to work in the United States, the state shall have the right to cancel the contract immediately without penalty or recourse, and suspend or debar the subawardee from doing business with the state. The State of Missouri may also withhold up to 25% of the total amount due to the subawardee.

The subawardee shall agree to fully cooperate with any audit or investigation from federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies.

If the subawardee meets the definition of a business entity as defined in section 285.525, RSMo, pertaining to section 285.530, RSMo, the subawardee shall maintain enrollment and participation in the E-Verify federal work authorization program with respect to the employees hired after enrollment in the program who are proposed to work in connection with the contracted services included herein. If the subawardee’s business status changes during the life of the contract to become a business entity as defined in section 285.525, RSMo, pertaining to section 285.530, RSMo, then the subawardee shall, prior to the performance of any services as a business entity under the contract:

  • Enroll and participate in the E-Verify federal work authorization program with respect to the employees hired after enrollment in the program who are proposed to work in connection with the services required herein
  • Provide to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources the documentation required in the exhibit titled, Business Entity Certification, Enrollment Documentation, and Affidavit of Work Authorization affirming said company’s/ individual’s enrollment and participation in the E-Verify federal work authorization program
  • Submit to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources a completed, notarized Affidavit of Work Authorization provided in the exhibit titled, Business Entity Certification, Enrollment Documentation and Affidavit of Work Authorization


Awards are limited to a maximum of $15,000 in reimbursable funds. Abandoned wells constructed to public water well standards require a 25% cost-share or in-kind match per well. Only costs incurred during the project period are eligible for reimbursement. The project period extends from the date a fully executed financial assistance agreement between the department and the awardee is signed through Dec. 31, 2023.

The following items are not eligible for funding but may be included as an in-kind match:

  • Equipment purchases that cost $1,000 or more
  • Public water system personnel costs
  • Land acquisition costs or conservation easements
  • Travel or refreshment costs
  • Infrastructure improvements to a water system’s distribution network, storage system, or treatment processes
  • Routine operation and maintenance of the water system
  • Disconnecting a well from a distribution system or from electrical appurtenances
  • Demolition costs (well houses or other infrastructure)
  • Costs related to decommissioning cisterns (water storage)
  • Incentives to private well owners
  • Informational or educational materials

Project Review and Selection

The department's Public Drinking Water Branch reviews and ranks all applications for funding priority based on the criteria in Table 1.

Table 1 - Evaluation and Priority Point Criteria
15 points Per abandoned well within one-quarter mile of an active or emergency public well*
10 points Per abandoned well from one-quarter to one-half mile of an active public water well*
5 points Per abandoned well from one-half to one mile of an active public water well*
2 points  Per abandoned domestic (private) water well to be plugged
15 points  Applicant has wellhead or source water protection plan with current endorsement from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
10 points Public water system serves a population of less than 1,000
5 points Public water system serves a population from 1,000 to 3,300
15 points Public water system serves a disadvantaged community (median household income is 80% or less of the statewide median)**
10 points Project seeks to plug abandoned public or multifamily wells that 1) formerly served areas within the applying water system's current service area and 2) are not owned by the applying water system

*A map, legal description, or locational coordinates for the abandoned well (s) must be provided with the application to receive project priority points based on proximity of an abandoned well to an active public water well.

**Based on 2010 Census and 2012 American Community Survey (ACS - U.S. Census Bureau).

Projects are awarded in descending order of priority point rank. If one or more projects receive an equal rank, but remaining allocated funds are insufficient to fund each, the project with the closest abandoned well to an active public water well will be selected for funding. If additional allocated funds become available, projects not initially selected for funding may still be awarded in order of priority rank. 

Glossary of Selected Terms

  • Abandoned Well - A well shall be deemed abandoned which is in such a state of disrepair that continued use for the purpose of thermal recovery or obtaining groundwater is impractical and which has not been in use for a period of two years or more (section 256.603, RSMo).
  • Community Water System - A public water system which serves at least 15 service connections and is operated on a year-round basis or regularly serves at least 25 residents on a year-round basis (10 CSR 60-2.015).
  • Domestic Well - A private water supply well equipped with a pump that does not have the capacity to produce 70 gallons or more of water per minute at the surface and that has three or less service connections. A domestic well is not limited to residential usage (10 CSR 23-1).
  • Multifamily Well - A well that has no more than eight connections, has a pumping capacity of less than 70 gallons per minute, and serves fewer than 25 individuals on average. A multifamily well may be used to serve a charitable or benevolent organization pursuant to section 640.116, RSMo (10 CSR 23-1).
  • Permittee – A person who is permitted as a well, heat pump, monitoring well, or pump installation contractor pursuant to the provision of the law and these rules (10 CSR 23-1).
  • Primary Public Water System - A public water system which obtains its source of drinking water directly from a well, infiltration gallery, lake, reservoir, river, spring, or stream (10 CSR 60-2.015).
  • Public Water System - A system for the provision to the public of piped water for human consumption, if the system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves an average of at 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year. The system includes any collection, treatment, storage, or distribution facilities used in connection with the system. A public water system is either a community water system or a noncommunity water system (10 CSR 60-2.015).
  • Well Installation Contractor – Any person, including owner, operator, and drilling supervisor who engages for compensation in the drilling, boring, coring, or construction of any well in this state. The term, however, shall not include any person who drills, bores, cores, or constructs a water well on his own property for his own use or a person who assists in the construction of a water well under the direct supervision of a permitted well installation contractor and is not primarily responsible for drilling operations (section 256.603, RSMo).

Application Overview

All applications and related documentation must be submitted electronically through the departments’ Funding Opportunities Portal. The revised application window extends from Feb. 1, 2023, through April 30, 2023. The department will rank additional project applications received during the extended, revised application window competitively against each other in accordance with the priority point criteria described in Table 2 of this document. Applications received during the initial application window of Nov. 1, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2022, will be awarded separately.

To be considered for funding for the extended application window, applications must be submitted from Feb. 1, 2023, through April 30, 2023, and must include all required documentation outlined below. Applicants that submit incomplete applications or are missing required documentation will be notified by the Public Drinking Water Branch.

The following information provides a systematic guide for completing the application (Form 780-2162) and lists other required documentation. 

Section 1 - Applicant Information

Enter the public water system name, state-assigned seven-digit public water system supervision (PWSS) identification code, and contact information. Enter the unique entity identifier (formerly DUNS #). Organizations may obtain a unique entity identifier at no cost online at the System for Award Management (SAM) website or by calling the toll-free help desk at 866-606-8220. Enter the public water system’s primary address and indicate the primary United States Congressional District, the Missouri Senate District and the Missouri House District.

Section 2 - Project Management Information

Enter the title of the proposed project and the project manager’s name, title, and contact information. Enter the estimated start and end dates for the project period. Note: All project periods extend from the time a fully executed agreement is signed through Dec. 31, 2023. The Public Drinking Water Branch reserves the right to adjust the project period to accommodate administrative review, if necessary. Project period extensions may be offered on a case-by-case basis.

Section 3 - Project Description

Provide a brief summary of the project in the space provided and describe the general scope of work of the project. Check the appropriate box to indicate the endorsement status of the applicant’s source water or wellhead protection plan.

Section 4 - Project Budget

Include project budget information in this section of the application form. Itemize the projected budget costs using the spreadsheet provided (additional sheets may be added if necessary). The examples provided below are not all-inclusive and certain budget items may fit equally well in another budget class. Contact the Public Drinking Water Branch if you have any questions regarding the proposed project budget.

  • Public water system staff time is not reimbursable, but can be included within the budget as in-kind matching funds.
  • Materials and supplies may include items needed to complete an eligible project component. Individual items that cost $1,000 or more are defined as equipment and cannot be reimbursed through this program.
  • Contractual and implementation costs include any contract work used to accomplish eligible project activities. Costs associated with implementation of project tasks may also be included within this portion of the itemized budget.
  • In the space provided, record the total budget for requested grant funds, offered matching funds, and the grand project total of requested and matching funds. Indicate the match percentage of the total grant project budget in the appropriate field (include cost-share, if applicable).

Section 5 - Signatures

The primary project sponsor must have an authorized organization representative sign and date the appropriate fields in Section 5. 

Section 6 - Instructions for Submitting Grant Application

Applicants must register online with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Funding Opportunities Portal and submit completed applications, along with other required documentation (below), electronically. Note: Applicants may need to allow one day from the time of successful registration before submitting applications and related materials.

In addition to Form 780-2162, a complete application package must also include the following documentation (available through the Funding Opportunities Portal):

  • Vendor Input Form
  • Business Entity Certification, Enrollment Documentation, and Affidavit of Work Authorization (Exhibit A)
  • E-Verify
  • Applicant Questionnaire
  • To qualify for project selection priority points based on proximity of an abandoned well to an active or emergency public water well, a map, legal description, or locational coordinates depicting the location of the well(s) must be included with the application package

Submit application materials online at Funding Opportunities Portal Access.

Applicants may call the Public Drinking Water Branch at 573-751-1300 with any questions regarding this assistance program between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday or by email at ken.tomlin@dnr.mo.gov or sourcewaterprotection@dnr.mo.gov.

For questions or issues regarding online submission through the Funding Opportunities Portal, call 573-522-9647 or email samantha.horrocks@dnr.mo.gov.

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

For more information