The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFMD) is working with the Florida Groundwater Association on a public outreach campaign on the issues regarding well construction and repairs.
The campaign aims to help homeowners find information about contractors who are licensed to construct and repair wells, according to a SWFMD news release.
In the release, David Arnold, well construction manager for SWFMD, provides this Q & A with information on these frequently asked questions.
Q: Why do I need a permit to construct a water well?
A: A well construction permit is required before installation of a water well within the SWFMD district. The permits ensure that wells are constructed by qualified contractors to meet rigid safety and durability standards, and protect the groundwater resource.
Q: Does it matter what part of the District I live in?
A: Permits are required for the construction, repair, modification and abandonment of most water wells within SWFMD. A water use permit must be obtained from SWFMD before well construction permits can be issued.
- Who should I hire to construct my well?
- All wells must be constructed by a Florida licensed water well contractor. All water well contractors are licensed by the water management districts. You can determine if someone has an active water well contractor license by contacting SWFMD’s well construction section at 813-367-3052. The only exception to this law is for a water well 2 inches or less in diameter constructed by an individual to provide water into their single family residential dwelling or for farming purposes on their farm, as specified in Florida Statutes. In certain areas, mandatory well designs might apply that would create difficulties for an unlicensed individual to construct a water well themselves. As with licensed water well contractors, this exception also requires the owner to secure a permit from SWFMD before construction. The applicant is required to submit a well completion report, or as-built, within 30 days of completion of permitted well construction.
Q: What other research should I do before choosing a water well contractor?
A: Research customer reviews before choosing a contractor and get multiple quotes. Request a written estimate and contract, and review details for all customer liabilities. Determine if the contractor requesting the permit is the same person doing the work. Research what other steps may be required for well construction, such as treatment systems or additional local regulations.
Q: Where should I place a well on my property?
A: Your well is required to be located at an area on your property that meets mandatory setback distances from any sanitary hazards so the well will not pose a threat to the groundwater resource and provides protection for the health, safety and welfare of the user. For single-family dwelling potable water wells, these setbacks include 75 feet from any septic tank and drain field and 75 feet from drainage/retention ponds. If possible, it is recommended that your well be constructed on the highest ground possible so that surface water will drain away from the well. The top of casing for most wells is required to extend at least 1 foot above land surface. If located within a flood zone, the top of casing shall extend 1 foot above the 100-year flood elevation, if possible. In general, shallow wells that draw groundwater from a depth near land surface are the most susceptible to contamination. Deeper wells are generally less prone to contamination.
Q: Can SWFMD provide assistance if there is a contractual dispute between the water well contractor and the well owner?
A: SWFMD’s jurisdiction applies to the construction, repair, modification, and abandonment of most water wells. Price, business practices, reimbursement, and customer service provided by water well contractors are not under its jurisdiction. SWFMD cannot assign restrictions or suspend a water well contractor’s license based on the contractor’s transactions with the well owner. Those who feel they are a victim of a crime or scam, should contact the appropriate authorities.
For more information on well construction, including applicable well construction rules and regulations, visit WaterMatters.org/WellConstruction.
Published December 14, 2022
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