Well Regulation

Fitchburg Board of Health Private Well Regulation

The Board of Health implemented private well regulations that went into effect on September 7, 2018.  Well drillers are required to obtain a permit prior to well drilling, provide the Health Department with a well drilling report and a water quality report.  The complete regulations can be found here.

Apply for a well permit online with Viewpoint Cloud Online Permitting

Well Construction Permit

A Massachusetts Certified Well Driller shall obtain a permit from the Board of Health prior to the commencement of construction of a private well.

Each permit application to construct a well shall include the following:

  1. Property owner’s name and address;
  2. Well driller’s name and proof of valid Massachusetts certification;
  3. Plans with a specified scale, signed by a registered surveyor, engineer, or sanitarian showing the location of the proposed well in relation to existing or proposed above or below ground structures;
  4. A description of prior and current land uses within two-hundred (200) feet of the proposed well location, which represent a potential source of contamination, including
    but not limited to the following:
    • existing and proposed structures
    • subsurface sewage disposal systems
    • subsurface fuel storage tanks
    • public and private ways
    • utility rights-of-way
    • any other potential sources of pollution.
  5. Fee Schedule:    
    • Construction:    $50.00
    • Repair:              $25.00
    • Destruction:      $25.00
    • Plan Alteration: $10.00

Each permit shall expire one (1) year from the date of issuance unless revoked for cause, or extended.  Permits may be extended for one additional six (6) month period provided that a written explanation for the request is received by the Health Department prior to the one year expiration date.  

Well Construction Permits are not transferable.

Water Quantity and Pumping Test

The applicant shall submit to the Board for review and approval a Pumping Test Report.  The Pumping Test Report shall include at a minimum: the name and address of the well owner, well location referenced to at least two permanent structures or landmarks, date the pumping test was performed, depth at which the pump was set for the test, location for the discharge line, static water level immediately before pumping commenced, discharge rate and, if applicable, the time the discharge rate changed, pumping water levels and respective times after pumping commenced, maximum drawdown during the test, duration of the test, including both the pumping time and the recovery time during which measurements were taken, recovery water levels and respective times after cessation of pumping, and reference point used for all measurements.

  1. Single family dwellings should be at least 600 gallons in a two hour period (5 GPM)
  2. In addition, the volume of water shall be at least 960 gallons in a four hour period (4 GPM).
  3. Multi-family dwellings and other uses may require longer yield testing depending on the required daily needs.
  4. Rates below 4 GPM for four hours shall not be approved without a special permit issued by the Board of Health.  If a well must be fractured to obtain the required flow rate, the Well Completion Report should reflect the final flow rate or supplemental documentation must be submitted

Water Quality Testing

After the construction of the well has been completed and disinfected, and prior to using it as a private drinking water well, baseline water quality testing shall be conducted.

A water sample shall be collected either after purging three (3) well volumes or following the stabilization of the pH, temperature and specific conductance in the pumped well. The water sample to be tested shall be collected at the pump discharge or from a disinfected tap in the pump discharge line. In no event shall a water treatment device be installed prior to sampling.

 Water quality testing, utilizing the applicable US EPA approved method for drinking water testing, shall be conducted by a Massachusetts certified laboratory and shall include analysis for the following parameters:  

  • Arsenic
  • Ammonia
  • Chloride
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Radon
  • Sodium
  • Total Coliform bacteria
  • E. coli bacteria
  • Nitrate/Nitrite

In wells drilled into bedrock the Board of Health requires that in addition to the parameters listed above, a Gross Alpha Screen test be performed. If the Gross Alpha screen detects radiation of 15 pci/l or more, then the water must be analyzed for Radium and Uranium concentrations.

Have a private well and have concerns?

Get a free well assessment with a water test as part of a new partnership with RCAP Solutions and the Health Foundation of Central Mass. Click here for details and the flyer 

Private well owner and wish to take a survey?  Click here for the flyer and survey info.