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In order to protect groundwater quality, the well program is responsible for the permitting of the construction, destruction, and repairs/modification of a domestic, irrigation, agricultural, cathodic protection, monitoring, or heat exchange well. The well program works closely with Monterey County Planning, the cities, and three water management districts in the county:

  1. Monterey County Water Resource Agency
  2. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District,
  3. Pajaro Valley Water Management District.

A permit to construct, repair or destroy a well is required before any work may begin. Only a contractor with a current C57 license from the State of California is permitted to construct, repair or destroy a well. To check the status of a license, visit the Contractors State License Board website.

The Well Permitting Process includes the following steps:

  • Submit application to EHB. All applications must be signed by the property owner and submitted by the C-57 California licensed contractor with the appropriate fees and map of location. Each well requires a separate application.

Mailing Address
Drinking Water Protection Services-Well Program
1270 Natividad Rd
Salinas, CA 93906

  • What is the 2.5 acre requirement?
    • If sewage disposal is or will be by an on-site waste disposal system and the lot can be served by a water system, the property must be at least 2.5 acres in order to obtain a permit to construct.
    • Once the application is received, it is reviewed for violations on the property.
    • If a violation exists, the application cannot be approved until the violation is cleared
  • The application is also reviewed for the technical content including proposed annular seal depth and thickness, sealing material, and type of casing material. It is important to include a detailed site map showing location of all septic tanks, leach fields/pits, sewer lines, and other potential contaminating agents.
  • The application is also referred to all of the appropriate county or city agencies for review and comments
  • Wells in the Coastal zone require a Coastal Permit before the well permit can be approved.
    • Apply through the Monterey County Planning Department
    • Well destructions may require a video log to determine the condition of the casing.
    • A site visit will also be conducted to verify all setbacks can be met. Setbacks include:
      • Any sewer line (sanitary, industrials or storm: main or lateral) – minimum of 50 feet horizontal separation
      • Watertight septic tank or subsurface sewage leaching filed – minimum of 100 feet horizontal separation
      • Cesspool or seepage pit – minimum of 150 feet horizontal separation
      • Animal or fowl enclosure- minimum of 100 feet horizontal separation
    • In order to adequately evaluate potential hazards, location of septic (primary and replacement area) and proposed or existing buildings is analyzed on the parcel and adjacent lots
    • Accessibility for drilling and future well maintenance is also considered

Other site restrictions that may affect septic placement, and thus the well location are slope, drainage areas, and ponds or creeks

  • The permit is issued once all of the requirements are satisfied
  • Prior to placement of a well seal, the driller must submit a seal proposal to the EHB for review and approval. This proposal is forwarded to any appropriate agency(s) for review and comments.
    • It is important to note that EHB does not determine the depth of the well or seal. It is up to the applicant and contractor to propose the depths.
    • Old Countryside Water WellEHB will review the proposed depth to determine if it will meet the applicable standards. Chapter 15.04 of the Monterey County Code requires a seal to do all of the following:
      • Restore, as far as feasible, the controlling hydrological conditions that existed before the well was drilled and constructed, including the elimination of physical hazards.
      • Prevent pollution of groundwater.
      • Conserve the yield and hydrostatic head of aquifers.
      • Prevent intermingling of desirable and undesirable waters
  • Once a seal depth is approved, EHB will witness placement of the seal.

If an applicant or contractor disagrees with the directive of any EHB staff, they can appeal to the staff person’s direct supervisor. If they are still unsatisfied, they can appeal to the Assistant Director and then to the Director and ultimately to the County Board of Supervisors

 Abandoned Wells

Abandoned wells pose a threat to groundwater quality and are a safety hazard. See this PowerPoint to find out more about identifying and abating abandoned wells.

Application Package

The application package to construct, repair or destroy a well consists of:

Other Agencies

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency Requirements

Well Standards

FAQ’s in the Well Program

A. Hire a licensed C-57 contractor and complete the applicable application. The application must be signed by both the property owner (or authorized representative) and contractor. The application must be complete and accompanied by the appropriate fee.

A. EHB maintains a list of contractors that have worked in Monterey County. If a contractor wants to be added or removed from the list, he/she may contact EHB at (831) 755-4507

A. All well constructed, repaired, reconstructed, or destroyed in Monterey County must be done in conformance with the California Well Standards Bulletin Nos 74-81 and 74-90, and Monterey County Well Ordinance (Chapter 15.04 of the Monterey County Code)

A. If sewage disposal is or will be by an on-site waste disposal system and the lot can be served by a water system, the property must be at least 2.5 acres in order to obtain a permit to construct.

A. The depth of the well is determined by the applicant and contractor. EHB will not tell you how deep to drill the well.

A. The depth of the well is determined by the applicant and contractor. EHB will not tell you how deep to seal the well, but must approve the seal depth before it is installed. As per 15.04.120 of the Monterey County Code, the seal is required to:

A. Water Quality will be required on the newly constructed well if it is for domestic use. Source capacity testing may be required as well.

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