Private Water Wells

Buchanan County's private water well program protects public health by preventing the contamination of groundwater.  The protection of groundwater supplies is extremely important as this is where nearly all of the residents in Buchanan County obtain their drinking water from.

Services:
  • Regulate the construction and installation of all private water wells, including sandpoints, geothermal, and irrigation wells
  • Provide testing for new and existing private water wells
  • Provide financial assistance through the Grants to Counties program to offer free private water well testing and help cover the cost of private water well pluggings and reconstructions


PRIVATE WATER WELL TESTING
Buchanan County Environmental Health provides water testing services to private water well owners in Buchanan County.  Buchanan County Environmental Health is able to offer free testing for total coliform bacteria, E. coli bacteria, nitrates, and arsenic when grant funds are available.  Contact Buchanan County Environmental Health for a quote for water testing services when grants funds are no longer available or for other analytes not covered with grants funds such as iron, lead, pesticides, etc.  Well testing typically occurs every Wednesday, but other times may be arranged if staff scheduling allows.  Contact Buchanan County to schedule your private water well testing.

PRIVATE WATER WELL PERMITTING
Permits are required for the installation or construction of all private water wells in Buchanan County including sandpoint, geothermal, and irrigation wells.  Private water well applications must be completed and submitted along with the appropriate fee to Buchanan County Environmental Health prior to construction.  Buchanan County Environmental Health will review the location of the new well and check compliance with all applicable setbacks.  All water wells must be installed or constructed according to Buchanan County Code of Ordinances and Iowa Administrative Code.  Installers should contact Buchanan County Environmental Health so that staff may conduct a site visit during grouting of the new well or other applicable time during installation or construction.

PRIVATE WATER WELL PLUGGING
All abandoned water wells are required to be plugged within 90 days of abandonment by a contractor certified by the Iowa DNR to do such work or by the private water well owner with approval and supervision by Buchanan County Environmental Health .  Wells must be plugged according to Buchanan County Code of Ordinances and Iowa Administrative Code.  The proper well plugging form must be submitted to Buchanan County Environmental Health with all of the required signatures upon completion.  Buchanan County Environmental Health can cover the actual cost of the well plugging up to $500 when grant funds are available.

PRIVATE WATER WELL RECONSTRUCTION
Private water wells with cracked or deteriorating casing, installed in a pit, or damaged and having continual bacteria contamination may be eligible for a well reconstruction.  All work must be completed by a contractor certified by the Iowa DNR to do such work.  Wells must be modified in accordance with Buchanan County Code of Ordinances and Iowa Administrative Code.  The proper well reconstruction form must be submitted to Buchanan County Environmental Health with all of the required signatures upon completion.  Buchanan County Environmental Health can cover the actual cost of the well reconstruction up to $500 when grant funds are available.

THE GRANTS TO COUNTIES PROGRAM
The Grants to Counties program was established in 1987 when Iowa legislature passed the Iowa Groundwater Protection Act to help prevent further contamination of one of Iowa's most precious resources; our groundwater.  Grants are made available to  Buchanan County Environmental Health by the Iowa Department of Public Health to provide financial assistance to Buchanan County residents for private water well services.  Services are provided on a first come, first served basis until the grant funds for the fiscal year are depleted.  Check this website to see the status of grant funds.  Grants provide financial assistance for the following services at the amount indicated: well testing, 100 % of actual cost; well plugging, actual cost up to $500; cistern plugging, actual cost up to $300; well reconstruction, actual cost up to $1,000.

Fund Status: 100 % of funds utilized as of 3/26/2019