“Abandoned Wells: A Hidden Danger” - October 11, 2013

THE 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

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.

Decommissioning of Abandoned Wells

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 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 Ecology.

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