87-88. General standards and requirements.

(a) Prior Permission. - Prior permission shall be obtained from the Environmental Management Commission for the construction of (i) any water well or of well systems with a designed capacity of 100,000 gallons per day or greater; and (ii) of any well in a geographical area where the Environmental Management Commission finds, after public hearings, such permission to be reasonably necessary to protect the groundwater resources and the public welfare, safety and health, taking into consideration other applicable State laws; provided, however, that the Environmental Management Commission shall not reject any application under this subsection for permission to construct a well except upon the ground that the well would not be in compliance with a provision of this Article or with a rule or regulation of the Environmental Management Commission adopted pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 87-87 of this Article. Notification of approval or rejection of an application for permission to construct a well shall be given the applicant within a period of 15 days after receipt of such application. Private drinking water wells (i) with a designed capacity of 100,000 gallons per day or greater or (ii) that are to be constructed in a geographical area where the Environmental Management Commission has found that prior permission is necessary shall be subject to permitting and inspection by the Environmental Management Commission and shall not be subject to permitting and inspection by a local health department. All other private drinking water wells shall be subject to permitting and inspection by the local health department as provided in G.S. 87-97.

(b) Reports. - Any person completing or abandoning any well shall furnish the Environmental Management Commission a certified record of the construction or abandonment of such well within a period of 30 days after completion of construction or abandonment.

(c) Prevention of Contamination. - Every well shall be constructed and maintained in a condition whereby it is not a source or channel of contamination of the groundwater supply or any aquifer. Wells subject to the provisions of subdivision (a)(i) of this section shall be operated in such a way that they shall not cause the violation of applicable groundwater quality standards. Contamination as used herein shall mean the act of introducing into water foreign materials of such a nature, quality, and quantity as to cause degradation of the quality of the water.

(d) Valves and Casing on Flowing Artesian Wells. - Valves and casing on all flowing artesian wells shall be maintained in a condition so that the flow of water can be completely stopped when the well is not being put to a beneficial use. Valves shall be closed when a beneficial use is not being made.

(e) Access Port. - Every water-supply well and such other wells, as may be specified by the Environmental Management Commission, shall be equipped with a usable access port or air line and to be a minimum of 0.5 inch inside diameter opening so that the position of the water level can be determined at any time. Such port shall be installed and maintained in such manner as to prevent entrance of water or foreign material.

(f) Mineralized Water. - Whenever a water-bearing stratum or aquifer that contains nonpotable mineralized water is encountered in well construction, the stratum shall be adequately cased or cemented off as conditions may require so that contamination of the overlying or underlying groundwater zones will not occur.

(g) Polluted Water. - In constructing any well, all water-bearing zones that are known to contain polluted water shall be adequately cased or cemented off so that pollution of the overlying and underlying groundwater zones will not occur.

(h) Well Test. - Every water-supply well shall be tested for capacity by a method and for a period of time acceptable to the Department and depending on the intended use of the well.

(i) Chlorination of the Well. - Upon completion of the well construction and pump installation, all water-supply wells installed for the purpose of obtaining groundwater for human consumption shall be sterilized in accordance with standards for sterilization of drinking water wells established by the U.S. Public Health Service.

(j) Use of Well for Recharge or Disposal. - No well shall be used for recharge, injection or disposal purposes without prior permission from the Environmental Management Commission.

(k) Abandonment of Wells. -

(1) Temporary Abandonment: When any well is temporarily removed from service, the top of the well shall be sealed with a water-tight cap or seal.

(2) Permanent Abandonment: Any well that is to be permanently abandoned shall be filled, plugged, or sealed in such a manner as to prevent the well from being a channel allowing the vertical movement of water and a source of contamination of the groundwater supply.

(3) Abandonment of Water Supply Wells for Other Use: Any water supply well that is removed from service as a potable water supply source may be used for other purposes, including, but not limited to, irrigation, commercial use, or industrial use, and such well is not subject to either subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection during its use for other purposes. For purposes of this subsection only, "water supply well" includes wells constructed by an individual on land which is owned or leased by the individual, appurtenant to a single-family dwelling, and intended for domestic use (including nonpotable household purposes, farm livestock, or gardens). (1967, c. 1157, s. 6; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; c. 1262, s. 23; 1987, c. 496, s. 4; 1989, c. 727, s. 14; 1998-212, s. 14.9B(a); 2006-202, s. 3; 2006-259, s. 50(a); 2011-255, s. 3.)