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Well Permitting

County Requirements

The Orange County Well Ordinance (County Ordinance No. 2607) requires that a permit be obtained prior to the construction or destruction of any well.  

Well permits must be obtained prior to beginning exploratory borings, as well as the construction of wells. Please see the full list of projects below.  

Environmental Health can assist in identifying appropriate agencies. All borings and abandoned wells must be properly sealed. Wells should be secured to prevent unauthorized access. Drilling procedures and well design and construction must be accomplished in a manner that prevents the spread of contamination and should be developed by an appropriate registered professional (P.G., C.E.G. or equivalent) with expertise in subsurface investigations. Reports that include logs of soil borings or any findings or conclusions relating to the subsurface must be signed by a properly registered professional (P.G., C.E.G. or equivalent). 

In unincorporated County areas and in twenty-nine of thirty-four Orange County cities, the Orange County Health Officer is responsible for enforcement of the well ordinance. In the remaining five cities (Anaheim, Buena Park, Fountain Valley, Orange and San Clemente), well ordinances are enforced by city personnel. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 714-433-6287 or 714-433-6285 or email EHOCWells@OCHCA.COM

A work plan can be implemented immediately after concurrence by EHD.  

To expedite the permit approval process, all the necessary attachments and applicable fees should be submitted with the permit application. The required attachments include a site plan showing the locations of all wells (proposed and existing), potential sanitary hazards, and the well construction diagram. The diagram should include, at a minimum, materials to used in construction, depth of seals, borehole diameter, size of casing, depth to first groundwater, and total depth of wells. Please note that the permit approval process may take a minimum of 10 business days depending on the complexity of the project.  

A permit shall remain in effect for one year from date of issuance. 



Contact the remaining five cities for requirements:

Well Permits are required to construct, reconstruct or destroy any, but not limited to, of the following:

  • Agricultural well
  • Community water supply well
  • Electrical grounding well
  • Individual domestic well
  • Industrial well
  • Test or exploratory hole used for determining underground geological or hydrological conditions
  • Observation well
  • Cathodic protection well
  • Geothermal heat exchange well
  • Recharge or injection well
  • Piezometer and inclinometer
  • Horizontal well
  • Soil vapor extraction well
  • Soil vapor probe well installed by mechanical drillings or combination of hand auger and mechanical drillings

Permits are specifically required for all wells and soil borings except:

  1. Vadose zone monitoring systems which are regulated by the administrative authority for enforcement of the Underground Storage Tank Laws and Regulations.
  2. Wells used for the purpose of dewatering excavations during construction, or stabilizing hillsides or earth embankments.
  3. Soil borings which meet all of the following conditions:
    1.   less than 50 feet in depth;
    2.    do not enter into groundwater;
    3.    do not penetrate significant confining material beds.
  4. Oil and gas wells, geothermal wells or other wells constructed under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Conservation, except those wells converted to use as water wells;
  5. The EPA exempts permit requirements for well construction and destruction activities conducted at the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) sites, commonly known as Superfund.