Well Drilling - Drilling Your Own Well

An October 2016 Washington State Supreme Court case impacts permit-exempt well use, which may affect some of the information provided on this page.

If you plan to drill your own well, the well must meet these requirements:

  1. Minimum Standards for Construction and Maintenance of Wells (Chapter 173-160 WAC). These regulations provide all necessary standards that a new well must meet.
  2. All new wells constructed in the State of Washington must have a unique Well ID Tag.
  3. Drilling Fees - Questions and Answers - A fee is required by the State of Washington to construct or reconstruct water and resource protection wells.
  4. Request For Variance - Problems and Solutions - A variance is written permission to use a pre-approved alternative method of well construction. The most common types of variances requested are for locating an individual domestic well closer than 1,000 feet to a landfill or for a well less than 100 feet from a septic system or any potential source of contamination.
  5. Surface Seals - Problems and Solutions - This pamphlet educates the public about the importance of proper surface seals on wells. Well drillers use casing, typically steel, to keep drilled holes from collapsing. If just the native materials are allowed to fill in around the casing, a conduit for water can form on the outside of the casing, so that dirty water can travel down the casing and into your well. To prevent this, a surface seal is used.

Some counties have unique requirements regarding well drilling.  If you have questions regarding these requirements, please call your Delegated County Contact.

State Water Use Laws: The Ground Water Permit Exemption RCW 90.44.050

The groundwater permit exemption allows the users of small quantities of ground water to construct wells and develop their water supplies without first obtaining a water right permit from Ecology.

Washington State Labor and Industries

If you need to find out if a drilling company is licensed and bonded, we now have a link to the Washington State Labor and Industries Web site.