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Can You Dig a Well Anywhere? Is It Legal?

Having a well means you will have a mainly limitless amount of water that isn’t subject to destruction or disruption the identical way that municipal or city water supplies are.

looking down a well
looking down a well

But not all properties have a well already. Wherever you reside, if you must install a well on your personal property are you able to? Is it legal to at all times install a well?

Generally, yes, you may dig a well on any property that you simply own subject to city, county and state laws for digging and well installation. Chances are you’ll need a permit, and there are lots of technical considerations to contemplate, nevertheless.

Well digging is a practice that has been occurring just about since eternally, and one which continues today around all corners of the country and far of the globe.

But there’s so much that you simply’ll must work out before you begin digging a well, and chances are high there’ll be no small amount of red tape.

But keep reading and I’ll inform you the whole lot it’s worthwhile to know in regards to the legal landscape concerning digging your personal well, and other aspects you need to consider.

Drilling a Well on Your Property is Typically Legal

You’ll be relieved to know that, digging a well on your personal property is legal just about in every single place, a technique or one other.

Whether you would like a well for utility water use or for supplying your personal home with potable water, a well is probably going a viable solution.

However, that’s to not say there won’t be rules and regulations you’ll still have to contemplate.

It is all but certain that they will, and in most densely populated cities installing a well could be explicitly or practically prohibited, meaning you’ll must hookup to city water supplies.

The rule of thumb is that you simply’ll need to contact your local government planning office to debate the prospect in your area.

They can inform you right up front what it’s worthwhile to know, and other aspects like how deep your well likely must be and other requirements.

Don’t skip this significant step when you are even considering of digging your personal well, but I’ll inform you more about probably the most salient legal and practical aspects in the subsequent sections…

City, County or State Laws and Ordinances To Worry About

The legal landscape for well digging is subject to multiple layers, mostly city or municipal and county laws on the matter, and sometimes state-level laws as well.

This legal “landscape”, when you will, might be many-layered and complicated depending on where you reside!

Each of those jurisdictional laws will entail different restrictions: the local-level laws often dictate the specifics of the well hardware, operation and its placement, including permitted locations, depth restrictions, water quality standards, and required permits.

Usually, this is completed under the auspices of maintaining public health and safety by ensuring that wells are constructed away from potential sources of contamination like septic systems or waste disposal sites.

County laws might address even broader environmental considerations, akin to the impact of well drilling on local ecosystems and groundwater resources.

At the opposite end, state-level laws are frequently less concerned with the well’s operation and installation, but cover bigger-picture stuff like licensing requirements for well drillers, technical specifications for well installation, and regulations on residential well water usage.

As at all times, note that these laws do vary significantly from one state to a different!

You Will Almost Certainly Need a Permit

One thing you need to plan on, unless you reside in a really distant area of a really permissive state with regards to well drilling, is that you simply’ll need a permit with the intention to drill your well whether or not you might be doing it yourself or hiring it out.

Permits are required as a way for the local government to maintain tabs on you, again under the auspices of things like overall water quality, and most places require a minimum of a cursory inspection of the well site and the ultimate construction before it will possibly be used.

You’ll must contact your local permitting authority with the intention to apply for a permit, and you must expect that process will take a minimum of several weeks.

Depending in your county and city requirements, the permitting process itself might mean a big amount of red tape and costs before you may even begin.

A Professional Well Driller Might Need to Install Your Well

As hard because it is to consider, folks have been indeed drilling their very own wells for a really very long time.

This is one among those projects you can save a bundle on by doing yourself, and it is feasible to rent all of the equipment you would possibly need for a typical installation that isn’t too deep. Talk in regards to the pioneer spirit!

But while the thought of digging and installing your personal well could appear appealing, especially as a cost-saving measure, it’s crucial to contemplate the complexities involved in the method.

Put simply, that is something that’s super-easy to screw up! Sometimes, mistakes and blunders that commonly occur when drilling a well have far-reaching consequences.

Accordingly, many states and even some counties will mandate that your well be installed by the professionals.

This greatly increases the probabilities of a successful install with minimal snags, however it’s also dramatically costlier for you than a DIY install.

You might even be forced to rent contractors even for easy, shallow wells used for nonpotable purposes.

But considering that incorrect well drilling and pump installation practices can result in serious contamination (including mass contamination of the source!) this will not be an unwarranted mandate in most locales.

If your state or county requires that you simply use the services of a professional and also you get caught doing it yourself you will probably be facing major trouble.

This can take the shape of fines and criminal charges, as we’ll discuss in a moment, and it could potentially lead to a clouded title in your property, meaning there’ll an irregularity or defect within the chain of title.

That’s a show-stopper when you ever need or need to sell your land!

Well Laws Violations and Codes You Might be Subject to Fines or Criminal Charges

However straightforward or byzantine your state and county laws on well installation are, it’s imperative that you simply follow them to the letter: Violating well drilling laws and codes can have serious financial and legal consequences.

While the specifics of penalties likewise vary depending on the laws in the world where you reside, generally most jurisdictions impose serious fines and in some cases criminal charges.

In South Carolina, for instance, violations of well regulations are subject to penalties as provided in Sections 48-1-320 and 44-55-90 of SC’s Code Regulations.

These penalties could range from fines to potential imprisonment, depending on the severity of the violation and whether it’s a repeated offense.

Similarly, in states like California, anyone who constructs, alters, or destroys a well with no license could also be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction could also be fined anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or imprisoned within the county jail.

Penalties for violating well construction laws and codes in Florida similarly range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity and the results of any mishaps.

A botched well that contaminates wetlands means you’re going to have the book thrown at you!

If you don’t need to court these bad outcomes, it is crucial to stick strictly to all relevant laws and regulations when digging and installing a well.

Not All Locations are Suitable for Well Drilling

Another factor, and one which is entirely practical as a substitute of legal, that have to be considered before you dig your well, is the easy proven fact that not all locations are suitable for well drilling.

Although it’s a broadly true proven fact that nearly in every single place on Earth has water deep below the bottom that’s reachable, when you drill deeply enough, the logistics and expense of truly reaching it in some places might make it an untenable prospect.

For instance, when you are high up within the mountains or anywhere else where there’s lots and a lot of rock to undergo, this might make the problem and value of drilling a well exorbitantly expensive.

Likewise, you would possibly live in an area where drilling a well is technically possible but the typical amount of water you’d expect your will to supply is well below that required of a typical household.

A functional well will produce anywhere from 3 to five gallons per minute, but a great well will produce a minimum of 8 to 10 GPM and preferably more.

A lackluster well can also be more vulnerable to drought and falling water tables. Is it price it to put in such a well?

Another issue is that the most effective area for drilling a well in your property could be technically very difficult to drill on.

Even if you will have soft soil, but must go very deeply on an uneven or broken a part of the property a big drill rig won’t give you the chance to maneuver into position.

I could go on, but these are only a couple of examples of things that have to be anticipated and accounted for before you begin spending money in your well!

Any Area that’s Flood-Prone is Usually a No-Go

Regardless of other terrain aspects, in case your property is liable to flooding, otherwise you’re well location is liable to flooding, there’s a reasonably good likelihood that it isn’t suitable for drilling a well.

This is due to flooding makes contamination of the well and potentially the water source much more likely than it might otherwise in the next, drier location.

This is an especially big concern for shallow wells, even though it isn’t out of the query that deep wells could possibly be affected also.

If you’re having knowledgeable survey performed for locating your well, this will probably be an element that the surveyors or well drilling company should check, but don’t take that as a right and ensure you do your personal due diligence.

Potential or Prior Contamination Might Make Your Well Unsuitable

If you haven’t ascertained as much by now from all of my cautionary mentions throughout this text, well contamination is a giant, big deal and a good larger deal is the contamination of the water source that it draws from.

This implies that prior contamination, or the likelihood of contamination, near your well have to be taken under consideration prior to drilling.

If you reside near a farm, factory, industrial site, mine, major roadway, railroad or every other direct or secondary contributing factor to ground and water contamination a risk assessment is mandatory.

In some cases, the permit to your well could be denied, or your well could even be condemned if there’s an accident that leads to a spill of toxic chemicals or other material!

This, suffice to say, might be absolutely disastrous when you depend upon your well. Because of this, it could be prudent to situate your well at a secondary site in your property that, even when it isn’t as efficient or costlier, could be a better option due to its reduced risk profile to direct contamination.

But in fact, that won’t allow you to within the case of any major accident or catastrophe that leads to deep contamination of aquifers and other sources that make up the water table.

Understand Your Water Use Needs and Perform a Technical Analysis Before You Embark!

Drilling a well might be surprisingly straightforward, or maddeningly complex. Although it’s legal almost in every single place that an individual can own property, the interfacing of legal and practical considerations could make for an excruciating undertaking.

And, not for nothing, you will probably be spending money at every step of the method the entire way.

Accordingly, before you embark in your journey to have a well-installed in your property you need to check in with all your municipal and county authorities and perform a radical assessment of your property, the well operation and your water needs, each today and in the longer term.

Only by doing that are you able to avoid a costly and demoralizing boondoggle.

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