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Does a homeowner need a permit to drill a water well on their property in Florida?
Thursday, June 28, 2018
A patchwork of water management districts has jurisdiction over well drilling in Florida. But, within each multi-county water management district, some counties have an overlay of their own regulations and it can get complicated. Here in Alachua County, we sit over the dividing line between two water management districts. No permit is required on the Saint Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) side for a private well less than six inches in diameter, but you must submit a well completion report. On the other side of the line in the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) a permit is required for all wells.
Alachua County Health Department requires a well and septic permit for a well anywhere inside the county and, if you are on the SJRWMD side, you must submit their well completion report form to the Alachua County Environment Protection Department (ACEPD) before installing the well. Each water management district also has their own guidelines for well drilling.
The good news for do-it-yourselfers is that homeowners or renters can construct their own well as long as it is two inches of less in diameter. A Florida-licensed well contractor is necessary for larger diameter wells.
All proposed well sites must be pre-approved by the appropriate authority in that area, which protects against the possibility that a well will be unknowingly drilled at a location over groundwater contamination. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) maintains updated maps of contaminated sections of the aquifer for local water management districts and health departments to reference for site approval.
The local jurisdiction will also advise applicants on the minimum well placement distances from septic tanks, drain fields, chemical storage areas, and other potential pollution sources. A good place to start to determine what the exact regulations are in your area is calling the local office of the Florida Health Department.
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