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There are new information resources available to private well owners. The four new private well fact sheets cover common topics that well owners want to know about. The topics include:
2015 NGWA Groundwater Conference was held December 15-17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The link below will take you to a document that lists which classes were available for CEUs and how many contact hours you can claim if you attend each class.
2015 NGWA Groundwater Expo IDNR CEUs
NOTICE of New High Capacity Well Guidance. High capacity water supply wells are wells that withdraw 500 gallons per minute or more from groundwater sources. The installation of any high capacity well requires the collection and submission of specific information before a water use permit can be issued and the well put into service. This information includes a detailed inventory of nearby wells, a complete set of borehole cutting samples and a detailed well log from the test well or production well. The applicant may be asked to conduct a pump test if the department finds it necessary to determine the effects which the proposed withdrawal has on other wells. The actual test pumping of the aquifer must be long enough in duration to achieve a stabilized water level in the test well or production well, and in the observation well(s). It can take up to 72 hours of continuous test pumping to achieve a stabilized water level. In addition, one or more nearby wells must be monitored and documented during the test pumping to help determine how much influence the new high capacity well has on neighboring wells. Additional details can be found in
Iowa DNR Technical Bulletin 23.1.
We recommend that you apply for your water use permit before construction. Water Use permits are issued to convey the right to use quantities of water for beneficial purposes. A Water Use Permit is required for any person or entity that withdraws 25,000 gallons or more of water in a 24-hour period. The permit lists the amount of water that can be withdrawn each year by the permittee and is valid for 10 years. A Water Use Permit also requires that a Water Use Report be submitted each year to the Iowa DNR. Typical examples of water use permit holders include, but are not limited to, public water supply systems, power plants, manufacturing and processing industries, agricultural businesses, irrigation users (crop agricultural, golf courses, truck farms, athletic fields), rock and gravel quarry operations, construction and foundation dewatering operations, recreational water uses and comfort heating an cooling systems. To find out more about Water Use Permits or to apply for yours today please refer to the Water Supply Engineering Water Allocation and Use web site.
Help protect the groundwater used by your family and others by having all of your unneeded wells properly plugged. To find out more about well plugging and how your can participate in a grant program that will pay for part of your well plugging costs, please visit our
well plugging information page.
Did you know that nearly all things that can be dumped on the ground surface can impact your groundwater? One of the realities that we face as a state and nation is that many of our surface water bodies are connected to our groundwater systems. This means that contamination found in surface waters can make its way into the groundwater too. Please remember that all drains eventually flow to surface waters that recharge groundwater sources. Whatever you dump down the drain will eventually end up in the water supplies that we all need and rely on. Think of it this way - If you dump it, you will drink it.
Almost everyone knows about public water systems and what they stand for - safe drinking water. Most of Iowa's public water systems obtain all or part of their water supply from groundwater sources. Because of this, when you protect the groundwater where you live, you help protect the valuable water resource used by many. It also helps reduce future water treatment costs for each of the users. For those who live outside of the reach of public water mains - the private water well users - when you actively protect the groundwater resource, you help reduce the future cost of constructing and maintaining your well, as well as potentially reducing the cost of treating your own well water to remove contaminants.
The bottom line is that when all of us take steps to properly dispose of all potential contaminants and exercise care so we do not spill potential contaminants, it helps protect the our groundwater. Together we can make a difference!
- Knowledge is Power - Understand your drinking water -
Private well users - here is some things to think about... When was the last time that you had your private water system sampled and tested? Do you know if your water is safe to drink today? Can you or your family consume the water without worries of illness and chronic long term exposures?
Did you know health organizations recommend that you test your water system at least once each year? How about this fact - did you know residents of 98
of our 99 of Iowa's counties can take advantage of a program that provides free water testing for private well owners?
The Iowa Department of Public Health manages a private well testing program called the "Grants to Counties Well Program". This program provides free private water system testing and will help you understand the safety of your drinking water. You can contact
your local county environmental health department to arrange your free water test.
Remember, no matter what type of water supply you use, public or private supply, you can make a difference in the overall water quality where you live. The great thing about you doing your part is that it is easy - just be considerate how you handle things that should not be part of our groundwater and your drinking water. Keep this statement in mind - If you dump it, you drink it! The Iowa DNR supports efforts to inform and educate citizens on groundwater protection and promote safe drinking water.
Did you know that the major health organizations recommend that private water system owners should test their well and water system at least once per year? How about this thought - did you know that there are contaminants that you should test for besides bacteria and nitrates?
The Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois are pleased to announce a new nationwide training initiative funded by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The training will includes classes for those who own or use private water supply wells.
The Private Well Classes are designed to help a homeowner and well user understand the basic science of water wells and inform them of best practices to maintain and protect the water supply. These basic tools can help ensure a safe drinking water supply and extend the life of the well.
The classes are part of an online learning experience that includes monthly emails with class lessons that will be reinforced by monthly webinars you can attend as often as you wish - even after the emailed class materials have ended.
Click here to find out how the class works.
- Well Services Certification is required -
In Iowa, the installation of geothermal boreholes and water supply wells and all well pump installation/water system services and well repair services require that an Iowa DNR Certified Well Contractor be present on-site any time these well services take place. You can find out more about the certification requirements by viewing our
Contractor Certification web pages.
Iowa DNR "Arsenic in Iowa's Drinking Water" Information
If your drinking water comes from a private well we recommend that the water be checked at least once a year for coliform bacteria and nitrate to ensure that the water is safe to drink. In addition, drinking water should also be tested for arsenic at least one time. Well owners can contact the
State Hygienic Laboratory (1-
local county sanitarian
and ask for a test kit to test the water for arsenic. Analysis of drinking water for arsenic can be performed by any Safe Water Drinking Act Laboratory certified for arsenic testing by the Iowa DNR. Contact your local county environmental health office or the Iowa DNR for additional information. You can find additional information about arsenic by reading the private well arsenic guidance found on the Water Supply Wells web page.
- Attention drinking water well users in NE Iowa -
The Iowa DNR Private Water Well Program
These well structures include:
The Private Well Program rules only apply to water supply wells and systems that serve fewer than 25 individuals on a daily basis. If a well system provides water to at least 15 service connections (like campground spaces or condos not served by a public water supply) or serves at least 25 individuals for 60 or more days during a year, the system requires management under the public water supply rules. Examples of smaller water systems that meet the Public Water Supply definition includes but is not limited to:
Public Water Supplies have specific federal requirements to help protect the health of the water users and the integrity of the water system. These requirements address the design of the water well and water treatment systems as well as the storage and distribution systems. The design and construction of these facilities must follow approved specifications and standards as determined by the Iowa DNR Water Supply Engineering section. In addition, a
Public Water Supply must manage and monitor the water system according to an operation permit issued by the Iowa DNR Water Supply Operations section. These steps help ensure that the water used by the public is safe for consumption. To
find out if you are a Public Water Supply or for more information regarding
Public Water Supply requirements, contact the IDNR
Water Supply section at 515-
The Private Well Program provides administrative oversight of the statewide private well program. This includes rule development and interpretation, working cooperatively with local county
governments to administer the private well program at a local level, working with well contractors regarding minimum and appropriate standards for well services, and
providing guidance to private well owners and other citizens.
The goals of the Iowa DNR Private Well Program are to:
The program goals are to have all private wells constructed to appropriate minimum standards and that competent Iowa DNR Certified Well Contractors are on-site in direct control of each well service provided. The local county permitting authority will issue you a local and state private well construction permit based on a single application.
To help achieve the program goals the Private Well Program works with local county environmental health staff to issue private well construction permits at the local level. This relationship is an important part of the program and helps to ensure that there are local contacts to provide well construction permitting and support for the local residents.
The Iowa DNR private well construction permit is issued at the local level through the use of a web based private well permitting system named the Private Well Tracking System or PWTS. This allows the counties to issue state private well construction permits, as well as record and track well water testing reports, well renovation reports and well plugging reports.
The Private Well Program also works with the Iowa DNR Operator Certification Section to help Certified Well Contractors with their certification questions and testing, and helps training providers determine if a training event will qualify for continuing education units (CEUs) or "contact hours" for well contractor certification.
You will find additional private well related topics in the left hand column or menu area of this web page. You will also find useful links at the bottom of each web page for common private well topics. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact us using the information at the bottom of this page.
Additional web resources:
- For additional information contact -
Environmental Specialist Senior
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines,IA 50319-0034
Fax 515-725-0348 Phone 515-725-0462