Wells: A Hidden Danger”
- October 11, 2013
PRIVATE WELL CLASS
- a free online service,
grant-funded to educate homeowners about their private wells.
You may be able to drill a well...
but can you use the water?
Many basins do not
have enough water for new wells and may be closed to further
withdrawal of groundwater. A closure in your area may
prohibit withdrawal even from permit-exempt wells. You
must determine whether the basin where you intend to withdraw
water is open to withdrawals. More information can be
found by reading the Water Availability Focus Sheets at:
Notice of Intent (NOI) to Drill a Well
- The Notice of Intent is
not a permit, certificate, or
application for a water right.
- Your Notice of Intent does
not represent approval or permission to use water
from the well.
- Once the well is drilled, the
water may only be withdrawn if it is
legally available and then NEEDS TO BE put to beneficial
use to establish a "right" to use of the water.
Notice of Intent Forms - link to the Notice of Intent
Form to Construct a Water Well
Water Quality - is the water from your well safe?
Many contaminants can′t be identified by taste, color, odor or clarity. Therefore, the state Department of Health (DOH) says regular water testing is very important.
Well Construction Information for Property Owners
An October 2016 Washington State
Supreme Court case impacts permit-exempt well use, which may affect
some of the information provided on this page.
The following information is provided to help property owners make informed decisions before drilling a new well or decommissioning (filling in) an old well.
Before you start the process, please open and read the Homeowner's Guide to Well Construction.
It includes information about well drilling and the Washington State Well Drilling Regulations. It is important that you meet all the
requirements for new or decommissioned wells.
Drinking Water - Links to information about testing and protecting your
Drilling Your Own Well – Although not recommended, if you choose to not
use a licensed driller, we have information on drilling your own well.
Whether you use a licensed driller or not, there will be well drilling fees.
Find a Licensed Driller - Search for a Washington State licensed well
Find Drilling Companies - Search for a Washington State licensed
Drilling Fees - Questions and Answers - A fee is required by the State
of Washington to construct or reconstruct water and resource protection
wells, or to decommission a well no longer in use.
Notice of Intent for Well Construction and Decommissioning
– This form
must be completed and submitted to Ecology by you or your well driller.
Find a Notice of Intent - Search for a Notice of Intent to Construct or Decommission a well and any well reports that have been received for a Notice of Intent.
- Well Tagging Requirements - All new or reconstructed wells must be
properly tagged. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to place a well
identification tag on every well they own.
- 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 100 feet from a septic system or any potential
source of contamination.
- Surface Seals - Problems and Solutions - This pamphlet discusses 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.
Washington Well Construction Act – Washington State’s well-drilling
laws. Chapter 18.104 RCW. (In particular, refer to
Decommissioning of Abandoned Wells
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 decommissioning.
Delegated County Contacts
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
Washington State Labor and Industries Provides Information on Drillers
If you need to find
out if a drilling company is licensed and bonded, use the links below:
Additional Information Specific to Well Drilling in Washington State
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.htm