The Alamance County Environmental Health Section devotes a tremendous amount of time trying to protect our water supplies. Through our locally adopted Well Regulations, Alamance County permits and inspects drinking water wells and irrigation wells. This includes finding suitable sites that wells can be drilled and ensuring that wells are located the proper distances from sources of contamination. This also includes inspecting wells after they are drilled to ensure they were drilled in the proper area and to ensure the cement grout placed around the well is done properly. Alamance County Environmental Health also permits and inspects the repair and abandonment of wells.
Alamance County also samples a large number of wells yearly, and we provide guidance to well owners to correct their water quality problems.
For more information on water sampling, please click here.
- Applying for Well Permits and Water Samples
- Interpreting Water Sample Results
- Types of Water Samples
- Disinfection of Wells
- Well Abandonment
- Certified Well Contractors
- Local Well Regulations
- Educational Resources for Private Well Owners
To get a well permit, simply complete the Well Permit Application and return to our office with the appropriate fee. After the application and fee is submitted to Environmental Health, an Environmental Health Specialist will visit your property and determine the best location for a new well to be drilled. Many factors are evaluated in determining a well site. Factors include the following:
- Distance to potential sources of contamination, such as septic systems, creeks or streams, ponds or lakes, petroleum fuel underground storage tanks, landfills, etc.
- Topography and landscape position, such as gullies, low-lying areas subject to flooding, areas in close proximity to overhead power lines, etc.
- Available space
Once a well site is determined, the Environmental Health Specialist will issue a well construction permit. Please be aware that in some cases a well may not be able to be permitted. Sometimes additional paperwork (i.e., variance) may be necessary from another government agency (e.g., Division of Water Quality, Division of Environmental Health). A well construction permit is valid for a period of five years.
After receiving a well construction permit, you must hire a North Carolina Certified Well Contractor to drill the well. This Well Contractor must also be registered in Alamance County. The Well Contractor will need a copy of your well construction permit prior to drilling the well.
If you want a water sample collected from your well, simply complete the Water Sample Application and return it to our office with the appropriate fee. After submitting your application and fee, an Environmental Health Specialist will visit your property and collect the water samples for which you applied. These samples are then shipped to a N.C. Certified Laboratory for analysis. The time it takes to get the results back from the lab varies depending on the sample.
***If you are experiencing water quality issues with your well, we strongly advise contacting a water treatment specialist or a Certified Well Contractor.
You may also click here for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for National Primary & Secondary Drinking Water Regulations.
The Alamance County Environmental Health Section collects many different types of water samples. Our trained Environmental Health Specialists come to your property to collect the sample(s), and the sample(s) is then shipped to a North Carolina Certified Laboratory for analysis. Please keep in mind that we can only collect water samples from drinking water wells with a properly functioning well pump. The following is a brief description of the different types of water sampling we offer:
|Test||Fee||Recommended Frequency and other notes|
The presence of fecal coliform indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animals waste
|Inorganic Chemical Water Sample||$85|
Every two years
Includes: Alkalinity, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Chloride, Copper, Fluoride, Hardness, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, Selenium, Silver, Sodium, Zinc
|Volatile Organic Compounds||$100|
Every five years
Tests for chemical compounds found in petroleum products and solvents.
Every five years
For all well users that have concerns about pesticide usage near your well.
(can be found in areas near hog farms, chicken houses, or heavy fertilization.)
Can cause shortness of breath and Blue Baby Syndrome in children under the age of 6 months.
|Full Inorganic Panel||$110|
Recommended if you have never had your well water tested, or it has been several years since your last test. Includes coliform bacteria, inorganic, and nitrate/nitrite samples.
To abandon a well in Alamance County, you must first complete a Well Permit Application indicating you want a well abandonment, and submit this to our Department. There is no charge for this application.
The following are the rules for well abandonments in North Carolina:
15A NCAC 02C .0113 ABANDONMENT OF WELLS
(a) Any well which is temporarily removed from service shall be temporarily abandoned in
accordance with the following procedures:
(1) The well shall be sealed with a water-tight cap or well seal, as defined in G.S. 87-85
(16), compatible with the casing and installed so that it cannot be removed without
the use of hand tools or power tools.
(2) The well shall be maintained whereby it is not a source or channel of contamination
during temporary abandonment.
(b) Permanent abandonment of water supply wells other than bored or hand dug wells shall be performed in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) All casing and screen materials may be removed prior to initiation of abandonment
procedures if such removal will not cause or contribute to contamination of the
groundwaters. Any casing not grouted in accordance with 15A NCAC 02C .0107(f)
shall be removed or grouted in accordance with 15A NCAC 02C .0107(f).
(2) The entire depth of the well shall be sounded before it is sealed to ensure freedom
from obstructions that may interfere with sealing operations.
(3) Except in the case of temporary wells and monitoring wells, the well shall be
disinfected in accordance with Rule .0111(b)(1)(A) through .0111(b)(1)(C) of this
(4) In the case of gravel-packed wells in which the casing and screens have not been
removed, neat-cement or bentonite slurry grout shall be injected into the well
completely filling it from the bottom of the casing to the top.
(5) Wells constructed in unconsolidated formations shall be completely filled with grout
by introducing it through a pipe extending to the bottom of the well which can be
raised as the well is filled.
(6) Wells constructed in consolidated rock formations or that penetrate zones of
consolidated rock may be filled with grout, sand, gravel or drill cuttings opposite the
zones of consolidated rock. The top of any sand, gravel or cutting fill shall terminate
at least 10 feet below the top of the consolidated rock or five feet below the bottom of
casing. Grout shall be placed beginning 10 feet below the top of the consolidated
rock or five feet below the bottom of casing in a manner to ensure complete filling of
the casing, and extend up to land surface. For any well in which the depth of casing
or the depth of the bedrock is not known or cannot be confirmed, the entire length of
the well shall be filled with grout up to land surface.
(c) For bored wells or hand dug water supply wells constructed into unconsolidated material:
(1) The well shall be disinfected in accordance with Rule .0111(b)(1)(A) through
.0111(b)(1)(C) of this Section.
(2) All plumbing or piping in the well and any other obstructions inside the well shall be
removed from the well.
(3) The uppermost three feet of well casing shall be removed from the well.
(4) All soil or other subsurface material present down to the top of the remaining well
casing shall be removed, including the material extending to a width of at least 12
inches outside of the well casing.
(5) The well shall be filled to the top of the remaining casing with grout, dry clay, or
material excavated during construction of the well. If dry clay or material excavated
during construction of the well is used, it shall be emplaced in lifts no more than five
feet thick, each compacted in place prior to emplacement of the next lift.
(6) A six-inch thick concrete grout plug shall be placed on top of the remaining casing
such that it covers the entire excavated area above the top of the casing, including the
area extending to a width of at least 12 inches outside the well casing.
(7) The remainder of the well above the concrete plug shall be filled with grout or soil.
(d) All wells other than water supply wells including temporary wells, monitoring wells or test
(1) less than 20 feet in depth and which do not penetrate the water table shall be
abandoned by filling the entire well up to land surface with grout, dry clay, or
material excavated during drilling of the well and then compacted in place; and
(2) greater than 20 feet in depth or that penetrate the water table shall be abandoned by
completely filling with a bentonite or cement-type grout.
(e) Any well which acts as a source or channel of contamination shall be repaired or permanently abandoned within 30 days of receipt of notice from the Department.
(f) All wells shall be permanently abandoned in which the casing has not been installed or from which the casing has been removed, prior to removing drilling equipment from the site.
(g) The owner is responsible for permanent abandonment of a well except that:
(1) the well contractor is responsible for well abandonment if abandonment is required
because the well contractor improperly locates, constructs, repairs or completes the
(2) the person who installs, repairs or removes the well pump is responsible for well
abandonment if that abandonment is required because of improper well pump
installation, repair or removal; or
(3) the well contractor (or individual) who conducts a test boring is responsible for its
abandonment at the time the test boring is completed and has fulfilled its useful
History Note: Authority G.S. 87-87; 87-88;
Eff. February 1, 1976;
Amended Eff. September 1, 2009, April 1, 2001; December 1, 1992; September 1,
1984; April 20, 1978.
The Certified Well Contractor list provides you with all well contractors that are registered in Alamance County and that are certified with the state of North Carolina. Please contact a Certified Well Contractor from this list if you want to:
- drill a well on your property
- repair a well on your property (e.g., install a liner, raise the well casing, etc.)
- abandon a well on your property
- hydrofracture an exisiting well on your property to get more water (increase well yield)