Asked Questions

Well Program:
Monitoring & Production Wells

Well-Monitoring Program

Monitoring Wells are used  in monitoring ground water conditions. These wells are under permit and  are inspected regularly by the Water Quality Control Staff. The construction standards are contained in the Department of Water Resources Water Well Standards.

This information is intended as a general guideline for the process of obtaining permits for the construction, destruction and operation of production, environmental and geotechnical wells and soil borings. These wells include, but are not limited to, cone penetrometers, inclinometers, piezometers, extraction wells, recovery wells, monitoring wells, temporary wells, irrigation wells, industrial wells, hydropunch soil borings and soil borings drilled for geotechnical purposes (whether or not groundwater is encountered). This information is not intended as a substitute for familiarity with applicable laws and regulations.


Well - A well is any artificial excavation constructed by any method for the purpose of extracting water from, or injecting water or other liquid into the ground, for observation of groundwater for any reason, for the exploration of the subsurface of the earth, for removal of substances from soil or groundwater, or for cathodic protection. This definition includes environmental and geotechnical wells.

Soil Boring - A soil boring is an uncased artificial excavation constructed by any method for the purpose of obtaining information on subsurface conditions or for the purpose of determining the presence or extent of contamination in subsurface soils or groundwater and for seismic information. This definition includes environmental and geotechnical borings, test holes, test wells, and exploration holes.

Well Drillers - San Francisco requires that any well or boring work be performed by a licensed well contractor (C-57 licensee).

Criminal Enforcement - Any person who knowingly violates the permit review and approval process will be subject to criminal enforcement.

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 LOP 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.

Permit to Operate - A permit to operate is required for all monitoring wells, geotechnical wells, or production wells. The application for Permit to Operate must be reviewed and approved. The annual fee for the Permit to Operate each well is collected by the San Francisco Tax Collector?s Bureau of License. Permit to Operate is issued after the inspector has approved the construction of the well and placement of the annular seal. See permit procedures for detailed information.

Construction and Destruction Inspections - Once the application has been reviewed and approved by the inspector, the Permit to Construct/Destruct will be issued to the applicant. 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. The Minimum construction standards are contained in the current California State Department of Water Resources Bulletin 74 Water Well Standards (74-81 and 74-90)

Contact the inspector at least 10 days in advance of drilling at (415) 252-3849. Drillers may not commence work until the Permit has been approved. Application and deposit fees must be submitted prior to scheduled drilling date.

Advance notice of 48 hours must be provided prior to inspection of the annular seal or the sealing of the well or boring.