Water Quality: Well Program
The purpose of the Environmental Health Well Program is to protect the health and safety of San Franciscans by ensuring that local groundwater resources do not become polluted or contaminated by the operation, construction or deconstruction of any well.
Permit to Operate
Any person who wishes to operate a monitoring or production well must receive a Permit to Operate from the Department of Public Health. Please submit the following for a Permit to Operate a monitoring or production well:
- Completed Application Form (pdf) - Same for both monitoring and production wells
- A one-time non-refundable fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the SF Department of Public Health.
- Submit a copy of the Department of Water Resources Well Drillers Report, Form 188, to the Water Quality Control Section within 30 days after completion of the work.
The application for Permit to Operate must be reviewed and approved. The Permit to Operate is issued after the inspector has approved the construction of the well and placement of the annular seal. The Tax Collector will bill for the annual permit fees to the identified operator of the well or the property owner.
Permit to Construct/Destruct
A permit is required to construct or destroy an environmental or geotechnical well or soil boring. Multi wells or soil borings may be allowed on a single permit if all sites are situated on the same assessor's parcel number. All monitoring wells properly destroyed will be referred to the Local Oversight Program (LOP). The applicant should request a letter of closure from the LOP section. Once the letter of closure is issued, the monitoring well permit to operate will be placed out of business. Please submit the following for a permit to construct or destroy a well:
- Completed Application Form for the appropriate type of well.
- Monitoring Well (pdf)
- Production Well (pdf)
- A one-time non-refundable filing fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the S. F. Department of Public Health must be submitted with the application 30 days prior to drilling.
- In addition to application fees required, please submit the deposit fee amount according to the Fee Schedule for the type of proposed drilling. (All fees due may be combined into a single check.)
- Permit applications for the construction of production wells only must include proposed well construction specifications, a detailed map or plot plan and a site safety plan.
Once the application has been reviewed and approved, a Permit to Construct/Destruct will be issued to the applicant. Well construction and soil boring permits are valid for 6 months from the date of issuance. Well destruction permits are valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. If work has not commenced within such time, re-submission of plans and deposit may be required. The geologist/consultant/well driller is responsible for contacting the well inspector to schedule the required inspections. It is recommended that as much advance notice as possible be given so that the required site inspections may be scheduled. Once the inspection has been scheduled the authorized work may begin.
- Drillers may not commence work until the application has been approved.
- Any person violating this section by failing to submit plans, obtain necessary inspections and approvals, make deposits or commence or continue construction or destruction is in violation hereof and shall be subject to penalties and abatement actions.
- The approval of plans and specifications shall not prevent this Department from requiring corrections, specifications, installations and operation in such plans, when in violation of applicable codes and laws.
- Advance 48 hour notice is required for inspection of the annular seal.
- Minimum advanced notice of 24 hours must be provided prior to well development and water sampling.
For application fee information, please refer to the Fee Schedule in the Helpful Links. All application materials, for existing or new wells, should be submitted to:
- Environmental Health Section
- Attn: Well Program
- 1390 Market Street, Suite 210
- San Francisco, CA 94102