State and local well construction permits are required for all water supply wells installed in Iowa.* For private water supply wells - wells that serve less than 25 individuals - the construction permits are managed by the Iowa DNR Private Well Program and your local
county environmental health offices.
In some cases, the Iowa DNR may work with participating counties to collect permitting information and then perform the well construction permitting at the state level.
A well construction permit authorizes you to construct your well and access the groundwater or geothermal properties under your property. Well construction permits do not authorize you to use large quantities of water, place any type of fluids into a well, or utilize the well for dispersing heat. These uses require additional permitting from the Department and may require additional monitoring by the well owner.
All well construction in Iowa requires that an Iowa DNR Certified Well Contractor be present on the job site at the time well services are being performed.
Examples of the types of well that require a private well construction permit:
- drilled, bored, and sandpoint wells used for domestic water supply and livestock or irrigation needs,
- recreational-use wells for lakes or pond water supplies, or to provide water for a fountain or other water feature,
- heat pump water supply and return or injection wells,
- industrial water supply wells providing plant process water or machine or process cooling water (and where the well water can be accessed by less than 25 employees.)
- GHEX (geothermal) loop boreholes - both vertical and horizontal loop placements when the loop depth is 20 feet or greater in depth,
- groundwater monitoring, contaminant monitoring or piezometer wells 20 feet or greater in depth,
- dewatering wells when they are 20 feet or greater in depth
- and dam or levee relief wells when they are 20 feet or greater in depth.
A property owner who plans to construct a private water supply well must agree to place the well in a location which avoids areas of known surface and subsurface contamination and have the well constructed to meet or exceed construction standards based and the type of well and the well location in our state. For monitoring wells and dewatering wells the wells must be constructed using industry standards designed to protect the groundwater and be properly plugged when the wells are not longer needed.
All well services including well construction and pump repair/maintenance work must be performed by a contractor who is currently certified by the Department. The rules surrounding well contractor certification can be found in 567 Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 82, Well Contractor Certification.
Additional well topics that you should be aware of -
Public Water Wells. Not all water supply wells are "private" wells. When a well or a water supply serves 25 or more people, or has 15 or more service connections for 60 or more days out of the year, the well or water supply is considered a Public Water Supply under both federal and state laws. Public water supplies require specific construction and monitoring standards that are established by the federal government. Before any work can be performed on a public water supply - including new well construction or well or water system alterations - a public water supply construction permit must be obtained before the work is initiated. You can obtain more information on permitting for public water supply wells from Iowa DNR Water Supply Engineering Section (WSE).
Water Use Permits. Water use permits are required for high volume well users. If your well water needs are 25,000 gallons per day or greater, you are required to obtain a Water Use Permit to document your water needs. Water Use Permits are issued by Iowa DNR Water Supply Engineering.
Geotechnical Investigation Boreholes. Iowa DNR private well construction permits are not required for borings that are installed only to study the soil structure - like those used as part of a geotechnical investigation required to design and place foundations or footings for buildings or other structures. A well construction permit and Iowa DNR Well Contractor Certification is required if your geotechnical investigation includes placing a well casing or screen in a borehole to monitor or collect groundwater samples. Please contact our offices if you have questions regarding the need for well construction permits or certified well contractors on your projects.
* Indicates that state private well construction permits may not be required for private wells less than twenty feet in depth. Please contact the well program manager at the number below for more information.
- For more information contact -
Russell Tell, Environmental Specialist Senior
401 SW 7th St, Suite M
Des Moines, IA 50309-4611
(515) 725-0462 or by Fax: (515) 725-0348