FAQs - Wells Program

Q01: When do I need a Well permit?

A01: If you are constructing, repairing, modifying, inactivating or destroying a well (municipal, domestic, monitoring, extraction, cathodic protection, geothermal heat exchange), advancing a soil boring to within 10 feet of first groundwater, or repairing or replacing a well pump or vault box, you need to obtain a permit from the Environmental Compliance Division (ECD) prior to starting your field work.

Q02: How do I Obtain a Well permit?

A02: To apply for a Well Permit from the Environmental Management Department, visit the Wells Program web page for the Well Application & Permit form and the Site Plan form. Send the form(s) and appropriate permit fees to the Environmental Compliance Division at:

Sacramento County Environmental Management
Attn: Environmental Compliance Division
10590 Armstrong Avenue, Suite A
Mather, CA 95655-4153

Permit applications may be mailed or hand delivered to the address above, or they may be faxed to (916) 875-8513.

Q03: Who may sign the Well Permit Application?

A03:  Well Permits are issued to the following entities:

  1. The legal owner of the property on which the well or boring is to be drilled;
  2. The C-57 licensed well drilling contractor that will drill the well or boring, or
  3. An authorized representative of the property owner or well drilling contractor.

Property owners must be verifiable by County Assessor’s records. If the property is owned by a corporation, the signature must be that of an officer of that corporation. If the well drilling contractor submits the permit, the signature must be that of a sole proprietor, partner, officer, “Responsible Managing Owner” (RMO) or “Responsible Managing Employee” (RME), verifiable via the California Contractors’ State License Board (CSLB) website.

If a property owner or a well drilling contractor wishes to authorize a representative to sign on their behalf, a completed “Property Owner’s Authorization Letter” or “Well Driller’s Authorization Letter” must be submitted with the application.

  • Well Driller's Authorization Letter  .pdf   .doc 
  • Property Owner's Authorization Letter  .pdf   .doc 
  • Contractors State License Board web site (www.cslb.ca.gov

Q04: How much do Well Permits cost?

A04: The Environmental Management Department does not depend on general funds for the administration of its programs, so EMD must recover 100% of the cost of program and support staff through fees. The Well Permit fees are directly related to the amount of time staff must spend in the office and in the field to process permit applications and conduct applicable inspections. Please see the Environmental Compliance Division fee schedule for the current Well Permit fee details.

Q05: May I pay my fees by credit card?

A05 Yes. The EMD cashiering office accepts cash, checks, and, through our on-line payment web site, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and e-Checks. The cashiering office is open between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, and cashiering staff may be reached by telephone at (916) 875-8481.

Q06: How much advance notice do I need to give the Environmental Management Department (EMD) for inspections?

A06: Grout inspection appointments should be scheduled via the grout inspection line (916) 875-8524 at least 24 hours in advance of the requested appointment time. You will receive a confirmation call back from our administrative support staff when an inspector has been assigned to your project. You will be given the inspector’s name and telephone number(s) when you receive your confirmation call.

Q07: How long will it take to get my Permit(s) approved?

A07:  The average turnaround time for a complete permit application package is five to 10 working days from the day we receive the complete application to the day we approve the application.

Q08: What if I need an Inspection on a weekend, County Holiday or outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.?

A08:  If we have an inspector willing to work overtime on your project and you agree pay our overtime rate of 1.5 times the current hourly rate for travel and inspection time, you may schedule your inspections outside our normal business hours. Please initiate your request through the grout inspection line (916) 875-8524 and our scheduling staff will ascertain whether an inspector is available to work overtime on your project.

Q09: May I change my inspection time if my field work goes faster or slower than I thought it would?

A09: If you need to change your inspection time, please call your inspector immediately. The Environmental Management Department strives to accommodate all requests for inspection appointments. We will do our best to provide you with an inspector at the time you request your inspection. Please be advised that if you cancel an inspection after our inspector has mobilized to your project, you will be responsible for the cost of travel to and from your project.

Q10: What do I do if my inspector doesn't show up?

A10: If your inspector does not show up at the appointed time, call them on their cell phone. (You will be provided with that number when the appointment is scheduled.) If you are unable to reach your inspector by cell, call the Environmental Compliance Division main telephone number:
​(916) 875-8400.

Permission to proceed is required prior to the commencement of sealing operations on a regulated project. Failure to obtain permission to proceed prior to sealing may result in administrative enforcement action, including the imposition of monetary penalties.

EMD Well Program Contact List

Q11: What does the inspector need to see?

A11:  The main purpose of a well inspection is to confirm compliance with the provisions contained in our well ordinance pertaining to seal preparation and placement. When the inspector arrives onsite, he or she should be able to:

  • Confirm the depth of the interval to be sealed.
  • Witness the preparation of sealing material if it is mixed onsite.
  • Check the load receipts if the sealing material is trucked in.
  • Witness the placement of the sealing material.

Q12: What are acceptable sealing materials for wells and borings?

A12:  Acceptable sealing materials include:

  • Neat cement (5-6 gallons water per 94-lb sack of Portland cement),
  • Sand cement (188 lb sand and 94 lb Portland cement with 7 gallons water (“10.3 sack mix”), or
  • Concrete (“6 sack mix” with aggregate ≤1/5 the radial thickness of the seal).

Bentonite is allowed as an additive to cement-based sealing materials at a ratio of up to 6% by weight of cement used, or as a foundation or transition seal. High solids bentonite slurry and bentonite pellets or chips may also be approved by the Environmental Management Department on a case-by-case basis.

Q13: When do I need to submit a "Well Completion Report?"

A13:  A Well Completion Report (DWR Form 188) must be submitted to the Environmental Management Department (EMD) and the California Department of Water Resources within 60 days of the construction, repair, modification or destruction of a well. Well Completion Reports are not required for soil borings.

Please visit California Department​ of Water Resources (DWR) Well Completion Reports for more information.

Q14: Why did I receive a bill from the Environmental Management Department?

A14:  Total Well Program fees for a project will depend upon the number of permits in the project, our travel time to and from the site, whether the inspections can be consolidated, whether mechanical difficulties occur during seal placement, whether the drilling crew is ready at the scheduled inspection time, and what the method of seal preparation and placement is. Once the staff time covered by the permit fees is expended, additional time necessary to complete regulatory tasks will be billed to the applicant at our current hourly rate.

Invoices are generated on the third Tuesday of each month. Your inspector will have a running log of the time spent on your project in your project file – you may ask them for an estimate of the time you will be billed on your last inspection for the project.