Private Wells

A private water supply provides water for human consumption and consists of a system that has less than fifteen service connections and either (1) serves less than twenty-five individuals or (2) serves an average of twenty-five or more individuals daily for less than sixty days of the year. Under Massachusetts General Law (MGL Ch.111 s.122), local Boards of Health have primary jurisdiction over the regulation of private wells. 

As required by 310 CMR 46.00, only Massachusetts Registered Well Drillers are permitted to install wells in the Commonwealth. This includes all well construction types, for both potable and non-potable purposes.

Helpful Links for Homeowners:

Applying for a Private Well Permit:

To apply for a well permit, submit a completed application online with an attached site plan.

The application and site plan are used to determine the suitability of the well site and proposed method of work. Of special concern is the location of the well in relation to the possible sources of contamination and items a minimum setback distance. Both the subject and surrounding properties are considered when reviewing items requiring setbacks.

The site plan must show the well location, property lines, sewer lines, septic systems, animal enclosures, fuel tanks, other potential contamination sources and features associated with a minimum separation distance.

Domestic Auxiliary (for watering, pools, etc.) and Agricultural (for irrigation of land in the business of agriculture) Wells do not require a Pumping Test and Quality Test.

After sufficient information has been provided, the Health Agent will review the proposal to determine if it complies with applicable laws and regulations. Based on this review a permit will be issued, denied, or modification requested. If approved, a copy of the permit will be sent to the well contractor.

If deemed necessary, the Health Agent will conduct a site visit to verify that the well location is acceptable.

Once the permit has been issued the authorized work can begin. A copy of the approved permit and plot plan must be kept somewhere on the job site. This is to ensure that it is available for reference by the work crew should questions arise.

Each permit shall expire one year from the date of issuance unless revoked for cause. Permits may be extended for one additional six month period provided· that a written request is received by the Board prior to the one year expiration date. No additional fee shall be charged for a permit extension, provided there is no charge in the plans for the proposed well.

Upon completion of the well the Department of Public Works will inspect the installation of the well. The well contractor is responsible for contacting the Department of Public Works to schedule inspection appointments.