Water Well Standards

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION

Establishing and Enforcing Standards

Authority for establishing and enforcing standards for construction and destruction of water wells has always rested with the 58 counties and 429 cities in California.

Where public water supplies are concerned, additional requirements may be prescribed by the Department of Health Services. Prior to the release of the 1968 edition of this report, only three counties and a few cities had adopted ordinances regulating the construction of water wells. In 1967, legislation was enacted authorizing the State (through the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards) to require cities and counties to adopt satisfactory ordinances governing well standards in critical areas. If they did not, the State would adopt such ordinances for the cities and counties. (This procedure is outlined in Sections 13800 through 13806 of the Water Code.)

Today, 33 counties have well ordinances establishing standards for the construction of all wells within their boundaries. They are listed in Table 2. Six other counties have adopted ordinances that deal with specific kinds of wells or conditions (as, for example, individual domestic wells only). While this latter group of ordinances provides protection for the users of water from the specified wells in these areas, they do little to protect the quality of the groundwater resource (in contrast with the 33 counties listed in Table 2). Table 3 lists the six counties with ordinances for specific kinds of wells. Thirty-four of the total of 39 county ordinances specify the standards presented in the 1968 edition, with modifications where appropriate (all of which are more stringent than those in the 1968 edition).

TABLE 2
COUNTY ORDINANCES IN CALIFORNIA
CONCERNING THE CONSTRUCTION AND DESTRUCTION OF WELLS

(As of December 1981)

County Ordinance
Number
Date
Adopted
Remarks

Alameda
Butte
Contra Costa
Del Norte
Fresno
73-68
1845
1189
73-90
470-A-39
7/17/73
8/2/58
1/14/58
11/12/73
10/22/74
Humboldt
Inyo
Kings
Los Angeles
Madera
897
309
365
10075
412
12/21/72
10/4/76
1/13/76
9/1/70
3/16/76
Mariposa
Mendocino
Merced
Mono
Monterey
373
1135
752
75-459
1967
9/18/73
8/28/73
6/10/75
8/26/75
5/29/73
Napa
Orange
Placer
Sacramento
San Bernardino
335
2607
1498B
508
1954
12/1/70
7/18/72
5/9/72
10/26/55
10/15/74
 
 
Amended 1977, 1981
 
 
San Diego
San Joaquin
San Luis Obispo
San Mateo1
Santa Barbara
4286
1862
1271
2413
2769
4/3/74
12/21/71
5/7/73
1/11/77
9/29/75
Santa Clara2

Santa Cruz
Shasta
Sonoma
Stanislaus
75-6

1577
479
1594
NS443
10/14/75

2/16/71
6/30/69
12/18/72
6/5/73
Ordinance of the Santa Clara
Valley Water District
 
 
 
 
Tulare
Ventura
Yolo
1758
2372
765
8/13/74
8/31/70
9/7/76
Amended 4/16/76
Amended 10/1/79
 

1. Predecessor ordinance numbers 1100 (12/15/55) and 2324 (7/8/75).
2. Separate ordinance for subdivision wells - NS1203.22 (4/21/64).

TABLE 3
COUNTY ORDINANCES IN CALIFORNIA
WITH LIMITED APPLICATION TO WELLS

(As of December 1981)

County Ordinance
Number
Date
Adopted
Application

Kern
 
Marin
Plumas
Riverside
San Francisco
Sierra
G1225
G3321
1463
786
340A
659
420
12/16/69
9/21/81
1965
5/15/73
5/3/481
1952
5/7/74
Community water supply wells
Agricultural wells
Domestic water supply
Domestic wells only
Provisions concern permit
Individual domestic wells only
Well construction only

1. Amended December 1, 1952 and December 23, 1957.

One-third of the 429 cities in California have also adopted well ordinances. Many cities have working arrangements or agreements with county governments so it is difficult to state the exact number of cities employing well construction standards. Cities with ordinances are situated in the following counties (number of cities with ordinances in parenthesis):

Alameda (4)
Fresno (8)
Kern (1)
Los Angeles (51)
Merced (3)
Nevada (1)
Orange (26)
Placer (1)
Riverside (1)
Sacramento (1)
San Bernardino (1)
San Diego (10)Note 2
San Joaquin (6)
San Luis Obispo (6)
San Mateo (5)
Santa Barbara (2)
Stanislaus (1)
Sutter (1)
Ventura (9)

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