Questions about the Co-Digestion Grant Program grant application will be accepted in writing only, no later than April 28, 2022.
- How were the regions defined for this grant program? Combining large counties into one region significantly limits competitiveness and equitable access to funds as compared to other areas of CA.
The regions were defined using the State Water Board’s Co-Digestion Capacity Analysis, which is based on California’s “wasteshed” regions identified in CalRecycle’s 2014 waste characterization study.
- Does the grant stipulate a timeline for construction and operation of the infrastructure project proposed in an applicant’s grant application?
All infrastructure that is paid for by the grant must be purchased, and should be installed during the Grant Term. Ideally diversion of food waste through that infrastructure will begin during the Grant Term as well. The Grant Term ends on April 1, 2025.
- Are there reporting requirements for this grant if awarded? What are the timelines of those reporting deadlines?
Yes, there are semi-annual reporting requirements for this program. Please see the Procedures and Requirements for a list of reporting due dates and requirements.
- How will CalRecycle evaluate the permanent increase in capacity for the co-digestion of food waste and how does it recommend applicants demonstrate that capacity beyond the grant period?
CalRecycle will evaluate based on responses provided in the application, including throughput of the equipment and related infrastructure that is to be utilized to process food waste into energy products, as well as information on how much diversion each project will result in and documentation of relationships with feedstock suppliers. This grant program is geared toward permanent infrastructure improvements to allow for new and expanded food waste recycling at wastewater treatment plants, and is not intended for piloting co-digestion or demonstration of feasibility at these plants. Please see the Scoring Criteria for additional information on the scoring and evaluation process: https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicNotices/Details/4609.
- How long is the grant period for COD1?
The Grant Term begins on the date of the Notice to Proceed email, which is sent after the grant is awarded and the Grant Agreement is fully executed (approximately September 2022). The Grant Term ends on April 1, 2025. For additional information, refer to the Grant Term section of the Application Guidelines and Instructions.
- Is DocuSign an acceptable certified digital signature program?
Yes, DocuSign is an acceptable certified digital signature program for application documents. E-signatures must include the first and last name of the Signature Authority, be in the Adobe Digital ID format or DocuSign, and cannot be the “Fill and Sign” function within Adobe. Any documents using the “Fill and Sign” method are considered incomplete and may be sent back to the grantee. If you have questions, email email@example.com.
- Does this grant program require projects to divert a minimum amount of food waste to be eligible for funding?
No, there is no requirement to divert a minimum amount of food waste. However, applicants must show how they calculated their projected diversion through quantitative data and supporting documentation. Applicants must also provide a defensible explanation describing how they plan to achieve their projected diversion during the Grant Term.
- What is the definition of a waste agency?
Waste Agencies are listed under the Eligible Applicants section of the Guidelines and Instructions. Regional Waste Agency means an agency formed pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 6500) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code and Article 3 (commencing with Section 40970) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 to manage solid waste within the members’ jurisdictions. Local Waste Agency is any department, office, or similar entity that exists wholly within a local government for the purposes of managing that local government’s waste.
- Can we submit two applications (two separate projects) that would benefit one wastewater treatment plant?
No. Only one application per wastewater treatment plant will be accepted. Two applications per qualifying entity allow those entities with multiple wastewater treatment plants under their jurisdiction to apply for grant funding for a second project site.
- Are there any future consequences/penalties if we are unable to meet the projected material flows that are submitted in the application?
CalRecycle will withhold and retain 10 percent of each approved Grant Payment Request amount until all conditions stipulated in the Grant Agreement have been satisfied. Please see the Procedures and Requirements for more information. If grantees are unable to meet projected diversion amounts, it may jeopardize the release of the withheld amount at the end of the Grant Term. The success of a project and the overall performance during the Grant Term is decided on a case-by-case basis.
- What entities are eligible to apply for this grant program?
Local governments including:
• Cities, counties, and cities and counties as defined in Public Resources Code section 30109.
• Regional or local sanitation agencies, waste agencies, or Joint Powers Authorities.
- Is the digestion of food scraps in a dedicated tank separate from sewage sludge eligible under this grant?
Yes. Eligible projects may either use existing digesters with excess capacity to digest food waste and sewage sludge together or may use existing digesters to exclusively digest food waste. This grant program requires the co-digestion system be located at and part of an existing publicly owned wastewater treatment plant. If not part of an existing publicly owned wastewater treatment plant, CalRecycle has funding for a much larger grant program targeting standalone anaerobic digestion and compost projects, which is in development.
- Does infrastructure that is currently in construction or was recently completed qualify for funding?
No. Grant funds for this program will not be awarded to fund project infrastructure that has already been completed or is in the process of being constructed, regardless of operation status. However, expansion of existing infrastructure to increase co-digestion capacity is eligible for funding. Eligible grant costs must be incurred during the Grant Term.
- Does fueling infrastructure, including, but not limited to, equipment to process, compress, and dispense vehicle fuel, qualify for funding?
Yes. This type of infrastructure is an example of an eligible cost, as it is necessary to produce and utilize transportation fuel.
- Does eligible food waste receiving station infrastructure include “cake” receiving infrastructure to receive and process food waste solids/semi-solids into slurry? Does polishing equipment for food waste slurry contaminant removal prior to co-digestion qualify for funding?
Yes. Food waste solids/semi-solids (cake) receiving infrastructure and polishing equipment for food waste slurry prior to co-digestion are both eligible under this grant.
- There is an alternative process to Co-Digestion that uses heat, rather than a biological process. This thermal technology is also being supported by other branches of the State of California and there should be a consistent policy across our State’s government. How can the thermal technology be included in this grant opportunity?
This solicitation is limited to projects that expand food waste co-digestion systems at existing publicly owned wastewater treatment plants. Projects that do not include co-digestion are not eligible under this grant. See Project Requirements listed in the Guidelines and Instructions.
- We own a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) station facility which is adjacent to our publicly owned wastewater treatment facility where we currently co-digest food waste. Excess biogas generated is conveyed to our biogas conditioning system and upgraded to renewable natural gas and will be utilized at the CNG station. Would the design and construction of the station expansion project be eligible for this grant funding?
The design and construction of the CNG station expansion would be an eligible cost if it is located at the wastewater treatment facility and owned by the same public entity. Eligible costs are listed in the Procedures and Requirements. Other Project Requirements listed in the Guidelines and Instructions must also be met, including an increase in Co-Digestion capacity.
- Can this grant be used for design, construction and installation of equipment for upgrading biogas from digester to pipeline grade Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)?
Yes. Please see eligible costs in the Procedures and Requirements. Other Project Requirements listed in the Guidelines and Instructions must also be met, including an increase in Co-Digestion capacity.
- Our District is currently designing a Receiving Facility to augment our existing anaerobic digesters. This facility is designed to receive both fats, oils and grease (FOG) and pre-processed source separated organics (SSO). The design handles both of these organic waste streams separately and uniquely. We are currently in active discussions with area partners in identifying sources of SSO to be diverted from landfill. Is our project eligible?
Eligible projects include the design, construction, and installation of new and expanded food waste co-digestion systems at existing wastewater treatment plants that increase the diversion of food waste from landfills. Receiving station infrastructure to accept and prepare food waste for co-digestion is an eligible cost, provided it is used for food waste diverted from landfills, consistent with the purpose of this grant program. If grant-funded project infrastructure achieves this and is also used for other activities or feedstocks not diverted from landfill, it shall still be an eligible expense under this grant program. For additional details on project eligibility, please see the Eligible Applicants, Eligible Projects, and other Project Requirements listed in the Application Guidelines and Instructions.
- After a payment request has been submitted with proper documentation, how long will it be before it is processed?
CalRecycle will make payments to the grantee as promptly as fiscal procedures permit. The grantee can typically expect payment approximately 45 days from the date a Grant Payment Request is approved by the Grant Manager.
- Since there are two Fiscal Years (FYs) of funding, will the awards be split, or will there be different cycles?
One solicitation will be utilized to fund both fiscal years. All projects will be awarded in early FY 2022–23.
- Is it possible to use the grant funding to pay a third party contractor/hauling company?
Yes. You may pay contractors for the price and installation costs of infrastructure/construction.
- Will there be any matching requirements from the jurisdiction to qualify for this award?
- Are there any budget categories that are capped for this program?
Yes. The combined costs for design and engineering, permitting, public education/outreach, and salaries (not related to construction or installation) is allowed at up to 15 percent of the grant amount, and does not include the Environmental Justice Consultant position which is capped at $120,000. The indirect costs may be budgeted for up to five percent of the grant amount. See the Application Guidelines and Instructions for more information.
- Will a jurisdiction need to have a resolution that specifically names this program for this grant, or can a resolution that provides authorization for all CalRecycle grants suffice?
A resolution for all CalRecycle grants will be sufficient as long as the authority is valid throughout the Grant Term.
- If a local government has multiple wastewater treatment plants, do they submit separate applications?
Yes. Up to two applications per qualifying entity will be accepted. A local government or public sanitation agency that has multiple wastewater treatment plants may submit up to two applications, with one wastewater treatment plant per application. For additional information, refer to the Eligible Applicants section of the Application Guidelines and Instructions.
- Our agency uses organic waste slurry in tons as a metric to track co-digestion of food waste. Does CalRecycle have a specific conversion factor that we can use to report “diverted organic tonnage”?
No, CalRecycle does not have a specific conversion factor to convert from tons of diverted food waste to tons of food waste slurry. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the data in the units requested. If tonnage is tracked in a different unit than short tons, please provide an appropriate defensible conversion factor based on the specific scenario/operations at the preprocessing operation and wastewater treatment facility.
- We anticipate using one design/bid/build contracted firm for the project. Similarly, we anticipate the use of a separate contractor to manage the entire project as well as a consultant for public outreach activities. Under which budget category should these be included?
The Budget categories and examples of expenses that would fall under each category are listed in the Application Guidelines and Instructions. Grant funds used for designing, bidding, and building should be listed under the Construction/Application Budget category. Depending on whether the work is directly related to the grant project, the consultant should be listed under either the Indirect or Education and Outreach Budget categories. Please be aware of the Budget caps listed in the Application Guidelines and Instructions for the different categories. Combined costs for design and engineering, permitting, public education/outreach, and salaries (not related to construction or installation) are eligible for reimbursement up to 15 percent of the grant amount.