Oregon Home Sale Rules for Homes on Wells

January 6, 2011


The 1989 Oregon Legislature established a law intended to prevent contamination of Oregon's groundwater resources. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has lead responsibility to evaluate and implement strategies for preventing and correcting contamination of ground water. Contamination sources might include residential, commercial or farm sources such as fertilizers, pesticides, or other farm wastes.

Well water
If a residence is served by a well, Oregon law requires that the well be tested for nitrates and total coliform bacteria before any sale or exchange of the property. The seller must submit the test results to the Drinking Water Program of the Public Health Division. The division may also require additional tests for specific contaminants in an area of groundwater concern or groundwater management. For more information on well water testing, contact the Drinking Water Program, Drinking Water/Domestic Wells, PO Box 14350, Portland, Oregon, 97293-0350; Telephone: 971-673-0405.

Well construction
To secure a groundwater supply, you will need to estimate your water needs, locate a groundwater source, obtain a water right (in some cases), select and contract with a licensed and bonded well constructor or get the needed Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) authorization to drill the well yourself. The OWRD recommends against drilling your own well. Standards on well depth, casing, sealing, development and yield testing, and developing a well log require specialized knowledge and equipment. Names of local well constructors are available from the OWRD Web pagehttp://www.wrd.state.or.us/OWRD/GW, the classified section of the local telephone directory, the Oregon Groundwater Association, or at any OWRD office.

If you decide to drill a well yourself on your own property, you must

  • obtain a landowner's well construction permit and file a $5,000 bond with the OWRD.
  • construct the well in accordance with state law, general standards and regulations.
  • before beginning work, submit a well construction "start card" to both the Salem office and the appropriate OWRD regional office and complete a written water well report within 30 days of completing the well.

If a water right permit is required, the department recommends that you obtain a permit prior to drilling a well; otherwise, you may spend money on a well that you cannot use. If a water right permit is not required, an exempt use recording fee and map requirement still apply.

Finding ground water
You can learn about the quantity and quality of well water in your area from local water well constructors and neighbors. Water well reports are required by Oregon water law and are a basic tool used in checking for groundwater availability. You may examine water well reports in your local watermaster's office or at the Water Resources Department's central office in Salem. You can also review water well logs through the department's home page (http://www.wrd.state.or.us) or more directly at: http://apps2.wrd.state.or.us/apps/gw/well_log/Default.aspx.

The US Geological Survey and National Water Well Association advise against employing a waterwitch to search for ground water.

Water rights related to ground water
With few exceptions, a water right is needed for use of ground water. OWRD recommends obtaining a water right prior to drilling a well. The following uses of groundwater do not require that the user obtain a water right permit: stock watering; watering a maximum ½ acre non-commercial lawn or domestic garden; watering up to 10 acres lawn, grounds, and fields of schools within a critical groundwater area; up to 15,000 gallons per day for single or group domestic use; up to 5,000 gallons per day for any single industrial or commercial use; and down-hole heat exchange

Technical assistance
Oregon Water Resources Department

725 NE Summer St, Suite A
Salem, OR 97301-2430
Phone 503-986-0900
Web http://www.wrd.state.or.us


Story republished from the State website. The Waterlab Corp always keeps an eye on updated rules.

Full story can be found here: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/pub_regs_water.shtml