Drinking Water Treatment and Research Fund


The DWTRF was created by Health & Safety Code Section 116367, et. seq. (PDF) (Senate Bill 2198, Chapter 997, Statues of 1998).

The State Water Board is the state agency responsible for the administration of the DWTRF. [Note: The responsibility for this program transferred to the Division of Drinking Water in the SWRCB in 2014.]

The DWTRF provides financial assistance for public water systems to (1) address contamination of drinking water sources by gasoline oxygenates such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), and (2) conduct research for the development of cost effective water treatment technologies for the removal of oxygenates and strategies to protect drinking water sources from oxygenate contamination.

Please go to our funding opportunities for public water systems webpage for important funding-related announcements, claims forms, and pre-application information.

Reports to the Legislature

Reports to the Legislature summarize projects funded under the DWTRF (there were no reports in 2002 and 2005):

Project Funding Eligibility (Water Supply Restoration)

The State Water Board is authorized to expend available DWTRF Program funds to public water systems for the following project categories when MTBE is detected in an existing State-Water-Board-approved drinking water source at a level that exceeds an adopted drinking water standard:

  • Installation and operation of State-Water-Board-approved water treatment systems to remove MTBE from approved drinking water sources.
  • Acquisition of alternate drinking water supplies to replace MTBE contaminated drinking water source(s) and/or drinking water sources that are threatened with imminent MTBE contamination with continued operation. Eligible projects under this category include connecting to another public water system and the purchase of replacement water or installation of a new drinking water well.
  • Investigations to determine the source(s) of MTBE contamination detected in groundwater sources used for drinking purposes.
    Eligible projects are approved for funding on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Project priority funding status is based on the date that the State Water Board receives a complete application package. Payments to public water systems for eligible projects are issued on a cost reimbursement basis. However, the State Water Board may authorize fund payments without a public water system first incurring eligible project costs if the State Water Board makes a determination that prompt action is required to protect human health, the environment, or a public water system qualifies for "financial hardship" status.

Public water systems receiving DWTRF payments that exceed $1 million for an individual project are required, as a condition of accepting the state funds and by state law, to aggressively pursue cost recovery from the responsible party that caused the MTBE contamination of the drinking water source. Further, any monies recovered by a public water system from a responsible party must be remitted to The State Water Board.

The State Water Board may waive the cost recovery requirement if a public water system receives DWTRF payments that do not exceed $1 million for an individual project.

Project Funding Criteria (Oxygenate Research)

The State Water Board is also authorized to expend up to $1 million annually to conduct research for the purpose of developing (1) cost-effective water treatment technologies to remove gasoline oxygenates from drinking water supplies and (2) strategies to protect drinking water sources from oxygenate contamination.

The State Water Board may enter into cooperative agreements with state, federal, local agencies, or other qualified persons to conduct the research and development activities. The approval of funding for eligible research and development projects is based on the recommendations of the DWTRF Research Advisory Committee.

State Water Board Contact Information

For more information on restoration projects or research projects, contact Randy Barnard at (619) 525-4022 or by e-mail at Randy.Barnard@waterboards.ca.gov.

Mailing Address:
Drinking Water Treatment and Research Fund
ATTN: Randy Barnard
Division of Drinking Water
State Water Resources Control Board
1350 Front Street, Rm 2050
San Diego, CA 92101