Well Construction Information for Well Drillers
11/09/2016 - A new Washington Supreme
Court case impacts permit-exempt well use statewide. Updates to
this web page are currently underway. For more information, see:
Understanding the Whatcom County vs. Hirst, Futurewise, et al. decision
For information specific to well drilling in Washington State use the
Well Report Gateway - Licensed well
operators and trainees can now enter data for resource protection well reports directly
on Ecology’s website, using the Well Report Gateway. The information will
automatically be in Ecology’s well report database within 24 hours.
Automating this process is a major leap forward in streamlining the well
report submittal process.
Laws and Rules specific to Well
Construction - links to the Wells - Licensing, Construction and
Well Report Search and Retrieve - Using the tools in this
online search you can find a well or wells in the location you choose using text or map search features.
- Ecology Contacts links to the Wells -
Licensing, Construction and Reporting homepage.
County Delegated Contacts - Local health districts or counties have
delegated authority for well sealing and decommissioning.
Use the links below to download information on specific topics:
Decommissioning of Abandoned Wells - It is
not uncommon in Washington state to find old wells which are no longer
usable. These are called abandoned wells. The most common type
of abandoned well is the shallow dug type. Abandoned wells can pose safety
and environmental problems, and are required to be properly decommissioned
as soon as possible after use stops. Closing down an old well is called
Wells: Frequently Asked Questions.
Fees - Questions and Answers - A fee is required by the State of Washington
to construct or reconstruct water and resource protection wells.
Bentonite Active Solids Content
source heat pump boring: Frequently Asked Questions.
Regulatory Handbook - Notice of Intent to Construct or Decommission a Well.
Intent for Well Construction and Decommissioning - Link to the Forms page.
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
100 feet from a septic system,
drainfield, or any potential source of contamination.
Protection Wells: Frequently Asked Questions.
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.
Well Construction and Licensing System - Link to the WCLS database.
Tagging Requirements - Licensed drillers in the State of Washington are
required to tag all new or reconstructed wells.
Wells Caps -
Problems and Solutions - The purpose of this pamphlet is to educate the
public about proper installation of well caps. Wells that are not in use,
or will be temporarily out of service, are required to be securely capped so
that contamination cannot enter the well (WAC 173-160-085). Well capping is one
aspect of this state's well construction standards that Ecology's inspectors
look for, and something that homeowners and drillers alike should take
seriously. A proper well cap will help ensure the users are safe and is
instrumental in making sure that contamination doesn't enter a well from the
Delegated County Contacts
- County Delegated Contacts -
Local health districts or counties have delegated authority for
well sealing and decommissioning.
Well Construction Technical Advisory Group - TAG
Guide to Well Operator License Program - There are
several types of licensing options under Washington's well
Regulatory Handbook - Well Construction and Operator's
A Washington State Well Operator's License - Under the
revised 1998 licensing regulations, all well drillers renewing
their Washington State Well Operator's License must show proof
of Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Testing for Licensed Well Operators - This publication
provides questions and answers related to the new requirements
for drillers to be tested on a drill rig (on-site) before
obtaining a license.
with Ecology - Staying in Compliance - Ecology's goal is to
serve the people of Washington State and to protect the
environment. Sometimes, this places us in the role of
enforcer of laws and regulations. The goal of enforcement
is to help achieve compliance, not punish violators. This focus
sheet describes enforcement tools Ecology uses and how to
Application forms for Driller Licensing:
Renewal - Well
Construction Operator License
- for an experienced driller, expired (lapsed) driller, or never held a
- to apply for a Trainee License
Well operators have been required to obtain continuing education since
1998. Mandatory continuing education allows
drillers to stay informed of industry changes and technological advances. It
also allows for networking among the drilling industry professionals where
ideas, concerns and issues are raised and resolved.
Drillers must send proof of continuing education at the time of
application for a new license or renewal of an existing license to Ecology.
For a new license, please read the
Guide to Water Operator License Program for specific dates to send
proof of continuing education. If you are currently licensed, check
your drilling license for the date of expiration. You must send proof
of continuing education prior to this date.
For more specific details on continuing education please read
of Licensed Well Operators.
Mail your proof of continuing education to:
Water Resources Program, Well Construction
Department of Ecology
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Continuing Education CEU
Continuing Education CEU Providers
- Ecology has revised WAC 173-160 and WAC 173-162 (the construction and
licensing rules). As part of the changes to the licensing rule, all
Continuing Education classes must be given by a CEU Provider.
Approved Continuing Education Courses
Listings of approved continuing education courses
(updated as new courses
are approved) are included in the following links:
Approved Courses – This is a list of the
courses that Ecology is aware of.
When applying for a new license, or a renewal of
your existing license, this is a great place to
check and see if any classes you have taken in
the past have qualified for continuing education
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
- Currently Scheduled Workshops
Notice to Well Drillers: Lakewood/Ponders Corner Superfund Site
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises drilling contractors
in the Tacoma area that suspension of drilling should continue in areas affected
by contamination from the Lakewood/Ponders Corner Superfund Site. The
affected aquifer is located south of Tacoma in Pierce County.
Washington State Labor and Industries
If you are looking for continuing education opportunities or need to find
out if a drilling company is licensed and bonded, use these links to the
Washington State Labor and Industries Web site.
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.htm