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Environmental Health

El Dorado County Environmental Health
Well Standards Ordinance -[Chapter 8.39] 

 8.39.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the county by ensuring that the ground waters of this county will not be polluted or contaminated. To this end, minimum requirements are contained in this chapter for construction, reconstruction, repair and destruction of water wells, cathodic protection of wells and monitoring wells. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.020 Definitions.

A. As Defined in Other Documents. Except as otherwise required by the context of this chapter, the terms used in this chapter shall have the same meaning as in chapter 10 of division 7 of the California Water Code and the Department of Water Resources Bulletin 74-81 and subsequent supplements or revisions.

B. Tense or Gender. Words used in the present tense include the future as well as the present. Words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter. The singular number includes the plural, and the plural the singular.

C. Section headings, when contained in this chapter, shall not be deemed to govern, limit, modify or in any manner affect the scope, meaning or intent of the provisions of any section.

D. "Abandoned well" means a well considered "abandoned" when it has not been used for a period of one (1) year and not properly cased, sealed and capped.

E. "Annular space" means the space between two objects, one of which is surrounded by the other, including the space between a bore hole and the casing or between two (2) casings.

F. "Board" means the El Dorado County board of supervisors.

G. "Cathodic protection well" means any artificial excavation in excess of fifty feet (50') deep constructed by any method for the purpose of installing equipment or facilities for the protection electrically of metallic equipment in contact with the ground, commonly referred to as cathodic protection.

H. "Contamination" means an impairment of the quality of the waters of the county by waste to a degree which creates a hazard to the public health through poisoning or through the spread of disease. "Contamination" includes any equivalent effect resulting from the disposal of waste, whether or not waters of the county are affected.

I. "Department" means the El Dorado County department of environmental management.

J. "Disposal well" means a hole dug, bored or drilled which extends below all known aquifers in which matters or substances, which by reason of temperature or content may be deleterious to ground water.

K. "Enforcement agency" means the El Dorado County division of environmental health.

L. "Exploratory well" means an uncased, temporary excavation or boring whose purpose is the immediate determination of existing hydrological conditions at a site.

M. "Health officer" means the county director of the division of environmental health or his authorized representative.

N. "Licensed contractor" means any contractor licensed in accordance with the provisions of the contractor's license law, commencing with section 7000 of the Business and Professions Code, unless exempted by that law.

O. "Monitoring well," also called "observation well" means any artificial excavation by any method for the purpose of monitoring fluctuations in groundwater levels, quality of underground waters or the concentration of contaminants in underground water.

P. "Pollution" means an alteration of the quality of the waters of the county by waste to a degree which unreasonably affects (1) such waters for beneficial uses, or (2) facilities which serve such beneficial uses. "Pollution" may include contamination.

Q. "Property line" means the surveyed line separating one piece of property from another or separating public rights-of-way from private properties.

R. "Repair" or "reconstruction" means the deepening of a well or the reperforation or replacement of a well casing; a C57 license and repair permit are required.

S. "Sanitary hazards" means inadequacies, actual or potential, which may permit the entrance of pollutants, contaminants or pathogenic organisms into the water, thereby impairing the water quality or rendering it injurious to public health.

T. "Sewage disposal system" means a system of septic tank and drainage field or a seepage pit, or both, handling the waste from any structure not served by a community sewerage system.

U. "Sewer" means a pipe carrying waste matter from any structure or a pipe which is a part of any community sewerage system.

V. "Source" means all components of the facilities utilized in the production, treatment, storage and delivery of water to the distribution system.

W. "Well" or "water well." The California Water Code, section 13710, defines "well" or "water well" to mean "any artificial excavation constructed by any method for the purpose of extracting water from, or injecting water into, the underground." The state water resources control board does not intend that stock ponds, potholes, drainage trenches or canals, waste water ponds, or similar excavations be included within the definition of wells. "Well" includes any water well, cathodic protection well, exploratory well or disposal well. As used in this chapter, "well" does not include: (1) any oil well, gas well or geothermal well constructed under jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation except any such well which is converted to use as a water well or disposal well; or (2) any well used for the purpose of dewatering excavation during construction or for the purpose of stabilizing hillsides or earth embankments. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.030 When Permit Required.

No person shall dig, bore, drill, deepen, modify, repair or destroy a water well, cathodic protection well, observation well, monitoring well or any other excavation that may intersect ground water without first applying for and receiving a permit from the division of environmental health unless exempted by law. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.031 Penalty for Failure to Obtain Permit.

Any person who shall commence any work for which a permit is required by this chapter without having obtained a permit shall be required, if subsequently granted a permit for this work, to pay double the standard permit fee. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.032 Emergency Work.

The provisions of section 8.39.030 shall not apply to emergency work required on short notice to maintain drinking water or agricultural supply systems. In such cases, the person responsible for the emergency work shall:

A. Time Limit. Apply for a permit within three (3) working days after commencement of emergency work;

B. Urgency. Satisfy the director of environmental health that such work was urgently needed;

C. Conformance with Standards. Demonstrate that all work performed was in conformance with the technical standards. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.033 Application Procedure.

Applications for permits shall be made to the county division of environmental health on forms approved by the division and shall contain all such information the enforcement agency requires to accomplish the purpose of this chapter. The application shall be applied for by the property owner, his representative or the well driller and accompanied by the required filing fee. If the division of environmental health finds the application contains all necessary information, a comprehensive permit containing such conditions as are necessary to fulfill the purpose of this chapter shall be issued by the division of environmental health. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.034 Filing Fees.

Filing fees may be set by the board from time to time by resolution. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990) 

8.39.040 Limitations.

When the division of environmental health issues a permit pursuant to this chapter, it may condition the permit in any manner necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter. Conditions may include, but are not limited to such quantity and quality testing methods as the director of environmental health finds necessary. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.050 Persons Permitted to Work on Wells.

All construction, reconstruction or destruction work on wells shall be by a person who possesses an active C-57 contractor's license in accordance with the provisions of the Business and Professions Code, section 7000, et seq. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.060 Proper Disposal of Drilling Fluids.

The permit shall contain a clause requiring the safe and appropriate handling and disposal of drilling fluids and other drilling materials used in connection with the permitted work. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.070 Abandoned Wells.

As a condition of a construction or reconstruction permit, any abandoned wells on the property shall be destroyed in accordance with standards provided in this chapter following procedures outlined in bulletins 74-81 and 74-90 of "Water Well Standards: State of California." (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.080 Permit Denial.

The division of environmental health shall deny an application for a permit if, in its judgment, issuance of a permit is not in the public interest. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990) 

8.39.100 Permit Expiration.

The permittee shall complete the work authorized by the permit within one (1) year of permit issuance. If there have been exceptional circumstances, the division of environmental health may grant the applicant a six (6) month extension. Upon the expiration of the permit, no further work shall be done unless and until the applicant has received an extension or a new permit. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.110 Permit Suspension and Revocation.

The division of environmental health may suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter, whenever it finds that the permittee has violated any of the provisions of this chapter, or has misrepresented any material fact in his application or, any supporting documents for such a permit. Prior to ordering any such suspension or revocation, the division of environmental health shall give the permittee an opportunity for a hearing thereon, after reasonable notice. The hearing shall be before the director of environmental health or his designated representative. An appeal may be made as set forth in section 8.39.250. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.111 Consequences.

No person whose permit has been suspended or revoked shall continue to perform the work for which the permit was granted until, in the case of suspension, such permit has been reinstated by the director of environmental health. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.112 Ordered Additional Work.

Upon suspending or revoking any permit, the division of environmental health may order the permittee to perform any work reasonably necessary to protect the underground waters from pollution or contamination, if any work already done by the permittee has left a well in such a condition as to constitute a hazard to the quality of the underground waters. No permittee or person who has held any permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall fail to comply with any such order. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.120 Well Standards.

Except as otherwise specified, the standards for the construction, repair or reconstruction or abandonment of wells shall be as set forth in Department of Water Resources Bulletins 74-81 and 74-90; the California Department of Water Resources Bulletins 74-81 and 74-90 "Water Well Standards, State of California." (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.130 Variances.

The director of environmental health shall have the power under the following specified conditions to grant a variance from any provision of the standards referenced in Section 8.39.120 and to prescribe alternative requirements in their place if:

A. Special Circumstance. There must be in a specific case, a special circumstance where practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship would result from the strict interpretation and enforcement of any such standard;

B. Intent of Chapter not Compromised. The granting of such a variance is consistent with the purposes of this chapter. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.140 Special Ground Water Protection.

The director of environmental health may designate areas where groundwater quality problems are known to exist and where a well will penetrate more than one aquifer. The director of environmental health may require in these designated areas special well seal(s) to prevent mixing of water from several aquifers. Where an applicant proposes well construction, reconstruction, or destruction work in such an area, the division of environmental health may require the applicant to provide a report prepared by a registered geologist or registered civil engineer (California Business and Professions Code section 7850 and 6762 respectively that identifies all strata containing poor quality water and recommends the location and specifications of the seal or seals needed to prevent the entrance of poor quality water or its migration into other aquifers. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.150 Inspections.

The division of environmental health shall make an inspection of the annular seal construction work. It may make an inspection of each proposed drilling site, an inspection at the completion of the work and inspections at such other times as it deems appropriate. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.160 Initial Inspection.

Upon receipt of an application, the division of environmental health may make an inspection of the drilling site prior to the issuance of a well permit. The purpose of this inspection is to determine whether there are any site conditions such that the director of environmental health shall do the following:

A. Relocation of Drilling Site. Require relocation of the drilling site should the location shown on the permit application be too close to potential sources of pollution;
B. Additional Conditions. Set additional conditions if needed to remediate any previously unknown ground water quality protection problems. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.170 Inspection of Well Seal.

The division of environmental health shall inspect the annular space grout depth prior to the sealing. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.171 Required Notice.

The division of environmental health shall be notified by the well driller prior to eight a.m. of the day of sealing the annular space. Drillers who anticipate completing a well in less than one day shall notify the division of environmental health twenty-four (24) hours prior to commencement of drilling and provide the anticipated time to commence the sealing of the annular space. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.180 Grouting.

The following standards and procedures shall be followed in the grout sealing of all types of wells:

A. The annular space between two casing and/or between the drilled hole and casing is to be filled with cement grout having minimum thickness of two inches (2").

B. The grout shall anchor in a satisfactory impervious stratum and in no case less than twenty feet (20') from ground surface.

C. A conductor or control casing need not extend the full depth of the area to be grouted. Annular space between conductor and drilled hole shall be grouted.

D. The grouting material shall be applied in one continuous operation from the bottom of the interval to be sealed to the top unless ground water is present, then the grout is to be applied under pressure. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.190 Should Enforcement Agency Fail to be Present.

If the enforcement agency wishes to allow a seal to be poured without inspection, the driller shall seal the well in accordance with the standards of this ordinance and any permit conditions. No seal shall be poured until permission to proceed has been requested. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.210 Final Inspection.

The driller shall notify the division of environmental health within seven (7) days of the completion of their work at such drilling site. The division of environmental health may make a final inspection after completion of the work to determine whether the well was completed in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.220 Monitoring Wells.

Two inspections will be conducted by the Division of Solid Waste and Hazardous materials:

A. Well seal, during the annular seal construction; and

B. Final, surface infiltration protection must be installed. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.230 Waiver of Inspections.

The division of environmental health may waive inspections should any of the following conditions exist:

A. Well Inspection by Other Agencies. Inspections may be waived where the work will be inspected by the staff of the California Regional Water Quality Resources Control Board, the California Department of Health Services or the Division of Solid Waste and Hazardous Materials if these designated agencies will inspect and report to the division of environmental health on all drilling features required by the standards.

B. Drilling Sites Known to Have No Threats to Ground Water Quality. Initial inspections may be waived when the drilling site is well known to the division of environmental health staff and it is known that no significant threats to ground water quality exist in the area. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990) 

8.39.240 Completion Reports.

The driller shall provide the division of environmental health a completion report within thirty (30) days of the completion of any well construction, reconstruction or destruction job. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.241 Submittal of State "Report of Completion.

Copy of the "report of completion," drillers well log, required by California Water Code section 13751 shall be submitted by the well driller to the division of environmental health within thirty days of construction or destruction of the well. This report shall document that he work was completed in accordance with the standards and all additional permit conditions. This section shall not be deemed to release any person from the requirement to file the report with the state Department of Water Resources. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.242 Confidentiality of Report.

With the exception of the well driller's name, the date the well was drilled and the water storage requirement, all information contained in this report shall remain confidential. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.243 Other Agency's Requirement.

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to excuse any person from compliance with the provisions of California Water Code section 13752 relating to notices and reports of completion or any other federal, state or local reporting regulations. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.250 Appeals--Right of Hearing.

Any person whose application for a permit has been denied, or granted conditionally, or whose permit has been suspended or revoked, or whose variance request has been denied, may appeal to the director of environmental management, in writing within ten (10) days after any such denial, conditional granting, suspension or revocation. Such appeal shall specify the grounds upon which it is taken, and shall be accompanied by a filing fee. Such appeal for a hearing shall be set at the earliest practicable time. The appellant and the division of environmental health shall be notified in writing of the time so set at least five (5) days prior to the hearing. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.251 Action by the Environmental Management Department.

After such hearing, the director of environmental management may reverse, wholly or partly, or may modify the order or determination appealed from. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.260 Right of Entry and Inspection.

Representatives of the division of environmental health shall have the right to enter upon any premises at all reasonable times to make inspections and tests for the purpose of such enforcement and administration. If any such premises are occupied, he shall first present proper credentials and demand entry. If the same is unoccupied, he shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or any person having charge or control of the same and demand entry. If such entry is refused, he shall have recourse to such remedies as are provided by law to secure entry. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.270 Abatement of Abandoned Wells.

All persons owning an abandoned well as defined in the well standards shall destroy it before December 31, 1991. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.280 Violation a Misdemeanor.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof is punishable by such penalties as set forth in section 1.24.020 of this code. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.290 Civil Enforcement--Notice of Violation.

Whenever the division of environmental health determines that a well:

A. Has not been completed in accordance with a well permit or the plans and specifications relating thereto;
B. Has been constructed without the required permit; or
C. An abandoned well has not been destroyed in accordance with the standards, the division of environmental health may record a notice of violation with the office of the county recorder. The owner(s) of the property, as revealed by the assessment roll, on which the violation is situated and any other person responsible for the violation shall be notified of the recordation, if their address is available.

If the property owner(s) or authorized agent disagree with the determination, he may submit evidence to the division of environmental health indicating that there is no violation and then shall have a right to appeal an adverse decision of the director or environmental health to the board in accordance with the provisions of section 8.39.300. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.300 Date of hearing.

Upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the board shall, within fifteen (15) days following the filing of the appeal, set a date for public hearing thereon. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.310 Evidence.

The evidence before the board shall consist of the records in the enforcement agency's files and any other relevant evidence which, in the judgment of the board, should be considered to effectuate and implement the policies of this chapter. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.320 Decision by Board.

The board may reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, or modify the decision or the notice of violation and may make such order as should be made. Such action shall be final. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.330 Removal of Violation Notice.

The enforcement agency shall submit a removal of notice of violation to the county recorder when:

A. It is determined by the division of environmental health or the board, after review, that no violation of this chapter exists; or
B. All required and corrective work has been completed and approved by the division of environmental health. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.340 Civil Enforcement.

Violations of this chapter may also be redressed in the manner hereinafter set forth by civil action. In addition to being subject to prosecution, any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter may be made the subject of a civil action. Appropriate civil action includes, but is not limited to, injunctive relief and cost recovery. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.350 Remedies Cumulative.

The remedies available to the board to enforce this chapter are in addition to any other remedies available under ordinance or statute, and do not replace or supplant any other remedy but are cumulative thereto. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.360 Reports to the Regional Board.

Pursuant to California Water Code section 13225(c), the division of environmental health shall submit a report, not less than annually, to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board(s) having jurisdiction in this area. This report shall contain the following data, unless the regional board determines a lesser amount of information is necessary.

A. "Wells constructed or destroyed" means the number of wells constructed or destroyed.

B. "Abatement actions" means descriptions of all well destruction undertaken by the division of environmental health using their regulatory authority under nuisance abatement powers.

C. "Variances granted" means a description of each specific case where variances were granted and the circumstances that made a variance necessary.

D. "Inspection waivers granted" means a description of each specific case where an inspection was waived and the circumstances that made the waiver necessary. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.380 Severability.

If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of the ordinance codified in this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid, or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, it shall not affect the remaining portions of this ordinance, including any other section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase therein. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.390 Regulations.

The county director of environmental health is authorized to make such regulations for the protection of the underground water against pollution and contamination, and for the protection of the public health. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)

8.39.400 Fees.

Fees shall be collected by the environmental health division for a permit to dig, bore, drill, deepen, modify, repair or destroy a water well, cathodic protection well, observation well or monitoring well. In addition, fees will be collected for penalties, reinspections and appeals. Fees shall be set by resolution of the board of supervisors. (Ord. 4110 §1(part), 1990)