Individual Private Wells
The well should be located as far removed from known or potential sources of pollutants as the general layout of the premises and surroundings permits. The well must not be located in areas subject to flooding unless the well casing extends at least two feet above the level of the highest known flood of record.
The following horizontal distances are required under DNR’s Water Well Standards Act:
- Not less than ten (10) feet from a sewer line
- Not less than 50 feet from a septic tank
- Not less than 100 feet from a septic tank absorption field
- Not less than 150 feet from a cesspool or seepage pit
- Not less than 100 feet from an animal or fowl enclosure
Wells must be installed by a licensed water well contractor. By using a licensed water well contractor, you can ensure that they meet basic criteria listed below. In addition, prior to actual construction, the water well contractor must notify the county health department of the intent to drill a water well, providing such information as is required on forms prepared by the Water Well Council.
Have two years' experience working in the water well construction business under a licensed water well contractor
Pass an examination relating to the applicant's knowledge of basic ground water, basic well construction, and the general contents of this part.
The Environmental Protection Division provides a complete list of licensed well drillers.
Licensed well drillers are required to provide a performance bon or letter of credit to ensure proper drilling operations and compliance with the procedures and standards in the Well Water Standards Act. If your well has been installed in the past year and does not meet the construction and location requirements of these regulations, the bonding program is in place through the Environmental Protection Division, Watershed Protection Branch.
- Maintain the area around the well to be clean and accessible.
- Do not store any chemicals, gasoline, or fertilizer within 50 feet of the well.
- Divert surface water away from the well. Install a water tight curbing, sloping away from the casing that is sufficient to prevent contamination.
- Protected the upper terminal of the well by a sanitary seal or cover to prevent entrance of pollutants to the well.
It is recommended that a bacterial test (total coliform and fecal coliform) of well water is done annually. This testing may be available through County Environmental Health Offices .
In addition to bacterial testing, it is also recommended that a chemical screening (W33C analysis) of well water is done every 3 years. DPH recognizes the need to keep pace with emerging public health issues around the nation and throughout Georgia. To address widespread public concern regarding drinking water quality, DPH has taken proactive measures to collaborate with our partners at UGA Extension to update the chemical screening profile for well owners in Georgia.
The W33C, also known as the Private Well Chemical Test (PWCT) , is the revised chemical profile for private well owners. It incorporates specific tests for arsenic and lead, in addition to the constituent analysis included in the previously recommended W-33. The recent identification of naturally occurring arsenic in water wells in South Georgia in and near the “ Gulf Trough ” geologic structure, combined with the heightened awareness of lead in drinking water systems in the wake of Flint River, has motivated the test profile modification. DPH believes it is essential to take steps to safeguard the health of Georgians through early detection and identification in order to reduce the potential for exposure to harmful contaminants. The PWCT (W33C) test is available through local UGA Extension Offices.
**Please be aware that the existing W-33 test is still the required test profile for all MOU wells serving public facilities that are permitted by DPH.
Proper Abandonment of Wells:
Any existing abandoned well or borehole shall be filled, sealed, and plugged by the present owner. An abandoned well is one that is no longer in use. Generally, “temporarily abandoned” means those wells unused for a minimum of 365 days, and “permanently abandoned” are those wells unused for three years.
Safe Water Website (EPA)
Non-Public Wells Regulated by Health Departments
Food service establishments, tourist accommodations, and swimming pools which do not meet the criteria for public water supply (15 connections or more, 25 people or more, 60 days out of the year) must still have assurance of potable water that meets applicable Georgia codes. The following PDFs contain the review process for new and existing facilities, sampling requirements, and interpretation document. The interpretation document is a “living” document. Please submit questions regarding the MOU process to the Non-Public Well Program (404-657-6534).
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Helpful Well Water Related Links
Program Information, Services, and Goals
The Non-Public Well Program (NPW), housed in the State Environmental Health Office, provides a resource for information on wells ranging from installation of new wells, maintenance of wells and wellhead protection, sampling recommendations, to the proper abandonment of wells. In addition, the NPW Program provides assistance and guidance on compliance with rules and regulations for Non-Public Wells. The NPW Program also examines waterborne illness and outbreaks and is available to assist State and Local partners with waterborne disease outbreak investigations. Services provided by the NPW Program also include conducting environmental assessments during outbreak investigations of small water supplies, restaurants, tourist courts, and swimming pools.
- Provide education, training, and guidance related to well installation, protection, evaluation, chlorination, sampling and abandonment.
- Provide technical assistance and support to local partners regarding enforcement of the Well Water Standards Act.
- Assist in waterborne disease outbreak investigations.
Minimize water-related illnesses in non-public wells.
- DHR Drinking Water Supply Rules 511-3-3
Waterborne Diseases and Outbreak Info