Where should I drill my well?
We are asked this question by our customers more often than any other question. There are several factors we need to take into consideration when choosing a well site. They usually fall into two categories, regulatory and practical.
Washington State and certain Counties have rules and ordinances that will restrict certain areas from construction of wells. The Department of Ecology is the State agency that regulates well drilling. The Washington Administrative Code for well drilling is Chapter 173-162 WAC. Section WAC 173-160-171 “What are the requirements for the location of the well site and access to the well?” contain the setbacks from sources or potential sources of contamination that must be met.
Regulatory Site Requirements:
Generally, the well cannot be closer than 50′ from the farthest extension of the building including eaves. 50′ from sewer lines including septic lines, septic tanks, septic or sewer pump chambers and other conveyance systems of waste water. 100′ from drain-fields, proposed drain-fields of drain-field reserve areas and any other source or potential source of contamination not already mentioned except solid waste landfills. 1000′ from any solid waste land fill active or inactive. Variances to these setbacks may be obtained with the help of professional geologist or hydro-geologist.
Certain County governments have setbacks of their own that can be more restrictive than those found in WAC 173-160-171. They also include setbacks from streams, wetlands, property lines and other sensitive areas. Many of these counties have a well site approval process that includes paper work and fees. The counties with the most restrictive setbacks include Pierce, Kitsap, and Thurston, and if you are in King county they have restrictions that are second to none. If you need or want help in navigating the many confusing and convoluted State and County rules and regulations E-mail Jason and he will be happy to lend you his expertise in this field.
Practical Site Requirements:
In locating a well site we need to keep certain practical things in mind. First and foremost should be legal access. Do we need to cross other people’s property to reach yours? Do you have the proper easements for ingress and egress in place? If not then you may need to solicit the help of an attorney in obtaining these.
Drill rigs and service vehicles can weigh in excess of 60,000 lbs. Will the roads and other soils that must be crossed support those weights? If not you may need to add rock or other ballast to the site to support the drill rig and service vehicles.
Another thing to keep in mind is future development. The well will need to be serviced from time to time. Do you plan to build or plant between the well and the driveway that will block access to the well? All of these questions need to be addressed prior to selecting a well site. For information on well site need of the drill rig click here.
The thing most people want to know is, will I find water on this spot? It is very difficult determine how deep a well will be or how much water a well will make prior to drilling. The best information will come from well logs in the area. Talking to neighbors who have wells is the best way to get valuable information. The Washington State Department of Ecology has a web site where you can search well logs in your area. We have extensive records on wells we have drilled in our office. E-mail Jason for help in determining the viability of your land for well drilling