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Town of Plainville, MA
Norfolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Health of the Town of Plainville 1-23-2019.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Well safety bylaw — See Ch. 463.
Groundwater and water supply protection — See Ch. 611.
Penalties; Noncriminal Disposition Fine Schedule — See Ch. 675.
[1]
Editor’s Note: These regulations also superseded former Ch. 784, Wells, adopted as Section 4 of the Plainville Board of Health Regulations.
A. 
The purpose of these water well regulations is to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the public by protecting the quality of the Town's groundwater through the provision of minimum standards.
B. 
It is intended that these standards be met with economical construction methods commonly employed in Massachusetts. These regulations shall apply to water wells which will have less than 15 service connections that regularly supply less than 25 persons.
In accordance with MGL c. 111, § 31, as amended, in regards to wells in the Town of Plainville.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED WATER WELL
A well that has not been used for water supply for a period of one year or more, unless the owner declares his intention to use the well again for supplying water within one year of the time use ceased.
AQUIFER
A water-bearing geological formation (consolidated or unconsolidated) that transmits water in sufficient quantities to supply a well.
CASING
An impervious durable pipe placed in a hole to prevent the walls from caving in, and to seal off surface draining or undesirable water, gas, or other fluids and prevent their entering the well. Specific types include:
A. 
A temporary casing placed in soft, sandy, or caving surface formation to prevent the hole from caving in during drilling.
B. 
The principal well casing.
COMMISSION
The Water Resources Commission established under Chapter 620 of Acts of 1956.[1]
DRAWDOWN
The measured distance between the static water level and the pumping water level.
DWELLING UNIT
The room or group of rooms within a dwelling used or intended for use by one family or household for living, sleeping, cooking and eating. Dwelling unit shall also mean a condominium unit.
POTABLE WATER
Water that is safe for human consumption.
REGULATING AGENCY
The local Board of Health or its designee which shall administer regulations pertaining to water well construction.
STATIC WATER LEVEL
The distance measured from established ground surface to the water surface in a well not being pumped, influenced by pumping nearby, or flowing under artesian pressure.
WELL DRILLER
Any person, association, partnership, company, corporation, or trust that constructs a water well licensed by the Water Resource Commission.
WELL OR WATER WELL
Any hole or shaft constructed into the ground for the purpose of extracting or injecting water. This definition shall not include wells to dewater excavations or stabilize hillside or earth embankments. It shall include wells connected to heat pumps.
A. 
Consists of a source well and a discharge well which could be one in the same, provided that it is a closed loop system where nothing is added to or taken from the water except heat and no air is in contact with the return water. A heat pump delivers water by way of the source well from an aquifer through a heat exchanger and returns it to the aquifer via the discharge well. The system utilizes the thermal energy stored in groundwater for space heating or cooling.
B. 
A well used for domestic water supply with one service connection and/or serving less than 25 people. This shall include residential lawn and garden irrigation wells.
C. 
Wells for commercial and industrial drinking water supply or food processing.
D. 
A well which supplies drinking water for two to 14 service connections which serve less than 25 people.
[1]
Editor's Note: See MGL c. 21, § 8.
These standards shall apply to all types of wells described in § 784-3. Before a change in existing well use is made, the new use shall comply with requirements specified herein.
No person shall engage in the business of constructing wells within the commonwealth unless he is registered with the Water Resources Commission, Division of Water Resources, as required by the Water Well Drillers Registration Act (MGL c. 21, § 16[1]).
[1]
Editor's Note: Said statute was repealed by St. 2009, c. 4, effective 10-1-2009. See now MGL c. 21G, § 20.
A. 
Within 30 days after completion of any water well (productive or nonproductive), a registered well driller shall submit to the Board a report containing:
(1) 
Name of the owner of the well.
(2) 
Geographic location of the well (this shall be given accurately to enable easy plotting on a U.S. Geological Survey Topographic Map, 1:25.00 scale).
(3) 
Well depth, and depth to the bedrock or refusal.
(4) 
Casing type, size, and length.
(5) 
Well screen type, length, and depth set.
(6) 
Static water level.
(7) 
Method used to test well yield, length of time (in hours) well pumped, drawdown, well yield, and drilling logs describing the material penetrated.
B. 
Reports forms may be issued by the regulating agency upon request.
A. 
Special standard. In locations where geological or hydrological conditions require more restrictive or additional standards than those described herein, such special standards may be required by the Board.
B. 
Injection wells. The construction of injection wells for liquid waste disposal is prohibited.
C. 
Well construction permits.
(1) 
A well construction permit shall be obtained from the Board prior to the construction of any water well or well system.
(2) 
An application for a water well construction permit shall be submitted by the drilling contractor or his agent to the Board, its agent, on forms furnished by the Board. The well contractor is responsible for obtaining said permit prior to well construction.
(3) 
The location, design, and operation of the water well must be approved by the Board, or its agency, prior to construction.
A. 
In establishing the location of a water well, the driller shall give consideration to sources of contamination which exist on, or adjacent to, the site. All water supply wells shall be located an adequate horizontal distance from potential sources of contamination and pollution.
B. 
Variable geological and hydrological conditions make it impossible to establish regulations to suit all conditions. The following minimum lateral distances shall apply to common sources of contamination listed:
(1) 
The minimum setback from a leaching area shall be determined by the soil percolation rate and the vertical clearance of the leaching area above the high groundwater (HGW) as follows.
Distance From Leaching Area
(feet)
Height Above HGW
(feet)
Percolation rate 2 minutes per inch or less
175+
5
151 to 174
6
126 to 150
7
100 to 125
8
Percolation rate >2 to 8 minutes per inch
175+
4
151 to 174
5
126 to 150
6
100 to 125
7
Percolation rate > 8 to < 15 minutes per inch
150+
4
126 to 149
5
100 to 125
6
Percolation rate 15+ minutes per inch
125+
4
100 to 124
5
Sources of Contamination
Minimum Lateral Distances
(feet)
Septic tank
50
Distribution box
100
Sewer footing drains with cast-iron watertight joints
50
Any site which constitutes, in the opinion of the Board, a hazardous waste site, including fuel tanks, landfills, junkyards, landscaping businesses, etc.
Board's discretion
(2) 
A water well shall also be a minimum of 50 feet from all property lines.
(3) 
Water wells shall be a minimum of 100 feet apart.
C. 
Where, in the opinion of the Board, adverse conditions exist, the above distances may be increased. In certain cases special means of protection may be provided. Where possible, the well shall be up the groundwater gradient (upstream) from sources of contamination. The top of a well shall be above ground that is higher than any surface sources of contamination and above any known conditions of flooding by drainage or runoff from the surrounding land, unless located in a floodproofed well house.
D. 
The construction of a well in a wetland shall be prohibited.
A. 
Casing material.
(1) 
Well casing shall be sufficiently strong to perform the functions for which it is designed, which is to:
(a) 
Maintain the hole by preventing wall collapse.
(b) 
Provide a conduit for water conveyance.
(c) 
Maintain the quality of water pumped.
(2) 
Permanent wells shall be cased with not less than Schedule 40 steel, or not less than Schedule 40 PVC plastic, concrete, or other durable pipe material.
(3) 
The thickness of casing shall be selected in accordance with good design practice as applied to conditions encountered in the area where the well is to be located.
B. 
A well casing, or extension thereof, shall extend vertically at least 18 inches above established ground surface, or above the floor of an approved pump pit.
C. 
All casing shall be placed with sufficient care to avoid damage to casing sections and joints. All casing joints above perforations or screens shall be watertight.
D. 
Water well pipe salvaged from water test holes or nonproductive holes may be used as new pipe if in good condition. Pipe intended for water well use is subject to random examination by the regulating agency, which shall reject defective pipe. Pipe considered defective includes, but is not limited to:
(1) 
Pipe with cracks.
(2) 
Pipe with welded patches.
The annular space between the protective well casing and the wall of the drilled hole or the surface casing shall be effectively sealed to protect against contamination or pollution by surface and/or shallow subsurface waters. This shall be accomplished in accordance with guidelines set forth below.
A. 
Depth of seal.
(1) 
The following is the minimum depth of seal below ground surface for various uses of wells:
Type
Depth of Surface Seal
(feet)
Local water supply wells
20
Domestic wells
4
(2) 
Exceptions are shallow wells where the water to be developed is a depth of less than 20 feet. In this instance, the depth of seal may be reduced, and special precautions shall be taken in locating the well with respect to possible sources of contaminations.
(3) 
The annular space shall be sealed to a minimum depth of 20 feet from the surface of the ground when the well is close to individual domestic wells or to sources of contamination or pollution as described in § 784-8.
(4) 
Local conditions, such as the existence of shallow subsurface waters of undesirable quality, may warrant consideration of sealing the annular space around the agricultural wells.
B. 
Sealing conditions. The following are requirements for sealing the protective casing of a well:
(1) 
Wells that penetrate unconsolidated material.
(a) 
Driven wells or well construction by cable tool method. The temporary surface or protective casings may function as the seal, provided the length of casing corresponds to the depth of seal specified in Subsection A of this section.
(b) 
Rotary, auger or jetted well construction. The annular space between the hole or surface or temporary casings or the protective casing shall be filled with sealing material to the depth specified in Subsection A of this section.
(2) 
Wells that penetrate impervious formations. If a consolidated formation or an impervious unconsolidated formation is encountered within five feet of the specified depth of seal described in Subsection A of this section, the seal should be extended at least five feet into the impervious formation.
(3) 
Gravel-packed wells. The gravel pack of gravel-packed wells shall terminate at the base of the protective seal.
(4) 
Wells penetrating consolidated rock. A hole of sufficient diameter to accommodate protective casing must be constructed and the annular space between rock and casing sealed to the depth specified in this section.
C. 
Sealing material. The sealing material shall consist of neat cement, cement grout, puddles clay, or concrete. Organic polymer muds shall not be allowed.
(1) 
The neat cement mixture shall be composed of one bag of portland cement (94 pounds to five to seven gallons of clean water).
(2) 
Quick-setting cement, retardants to setting, and other additives including hydrated lime to make the mix more fluid (up to 10% of the volume of the cement) and bentonite (up to 5%) to make the mix more fluid and reduce shrinkage may be used.
(3) 
Clay in the form of a mud-laden fluid is similar to and has the advantages of neat cement and cement grout. This is a disadvantage in that clay may separate out from the fluid.
(4) 
A bentonite-gelatinous mud is recommended. Concrete is useful in sealing large diameter wells, particularly where the width of annular ring is several inches or more. However, unless care is exercised during the placement, the coarse aggregate may become separated from the cement.
D. 
Thickness of seal. The thickness of the seal shall be at least one inch, and not less than three times the size of the largest coarse aggregate used in the sealing material.
E. 
Placement of seal. The sealing material shall be installed in one continuous operation from the bottom of the interval to be sealed to the top.
F. 
Sealing casing into bedrock. For all wells which terminate in bedrock, a permanent casing shall extend from 18 inches above the ground or floor of a pit into bedrock a minimum of 10 feet below the bedrock surface.
A well installed in an unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifer commonly has a well screen. Screen openings shall be properly sized based on sieve analysis of material at the screen depth. The well shall be properly developed to produce sand-free water at the pumping rate of the permanent pump.
Where a well penetrates aquifers separated by confining layers and any of the aquifers contain water that would be a contaminant, contaminated strata shall be sealed to prevent entrance of the water into the well, or its migration to other aquifer(s).
A. 
The contaminated stratum shall be sealed by placing impermeable material in the annular space between the protective casing and the contaminated stratum.
(1) 
The seal shall extend into upper and lower confining formations for a sufficient vertical distance to prevent the vertical movement of water from the producing formation.
(2) 
Sufficient sealing material shall be installed to fill the annular space between the casing and the wall in the drilled hole along the sealed interval and to fill the voids which might absorb sealing material. Sealing material shall be placed from the bottom to the top of the sealed interval.
B. 
Sealing material shall consist of neat cement, cement grout, or other suitable impermeable material. See § 784-10.
A. 
All local water supply, domestic, and industrial wells shall be disinfected following construction, rehabilitation, and well or pump repair before the well is placed in service.
B. 
The well shall be pumped until the water is as clear as possible. Thereafter, the well and pumping equipment shall be disinfected with a solution containing at least 50 ppm of chlorine.
C. 
The well shall remain in contact with chlorine solution a minimum of 24 hours before the well is pumped to waste and chlorine flushed from the distribution system. All water used in drilling should be disinfected.
A. 
Openings into the top of the well which are not to provide access shall be sealed. All access openings into the well shall be protected against entrance of surface water.
B. 
Where the pump is offset from the well, or the well is equipped with a submersible pump, the opening between the protective casing and any distribution pipes or support or electrical cables which enter the well shall have a watertight seal.
C. 
All holes into the pump that are open to the well shall be sealed.
D. 
All wells equipped with a pump shall have a watertight cap at all times.
E. 
All below-ground discharge pipes shall have a watertight seal or gasket between the discharge pipe and well casing.
F. 
Any concrete base or slab (sometimes called a "pump block" or "pump pedestal") constructed around the top of a casing shall be watertight and free from cracks at least six inches above the pump floor.
(1) 
Pump blowoff. Any pump discharge blowoff or drain line shall be located as to not be affected by flooding, back siphons, or back pressure, and shall not be connected to a sewer.
All well development and rehabilitation shall be done with care and by methods that will not cause damage to the well, degrade groundwater quality, or alter subsurface conditions to allow vertical movement of contaminated water between aquifers. Hydrofracking of any well will not be considered unless the current well is a minimum of 600 feet deep, and will require a variance from the Board of Health. The use of explosives for well development shall be prohibited.
Chemical, physical, and bacteriological analysis of the water, conducted by a Massachusetts certified laboratory, shall be required. Water which does not meet the accepted standards of agencies of the state or federal government for potable water supplies shall be grounds for the rejection of the well. The well shall be sampled as follows:
A. 
Prior to approval for issuance of a building permit, a sample shall be collected.
B. 
Prior to occupancy of the facility that the well is to serve or any use of the well water, a sample shall be collected from the building by a representative of the testing laboratory or an independent service, maintaining a chain of custody.
C. 
The samples shall be tested for the following parameters.
(1) 
A bacteriological test to indicate a zero per 100 ml coliform density. A total bacteria count (standard plate count) shall also be determined at 35° C. and shall not exceed 100 bacteria per ml.
(2) 
Chemical and physical analyses shall be performed for at least the following:
(a) 
Volatile organics (EPA 524) or approved equivalent.
(b) 
pH, color, odor, turbidity, iron, manganese, ammonia nitrogen, nitrite nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, alkalinity, total hardness, sodium, chloride, arsenic, and lead.
D. 
The Board of Health may require other parameters to be tested when, in its opinion, circumstances particular to the subject location warrant it.
E. 
Concentrations shall not exceed the United States EPA Recommended Maximum Contaminant Levels for Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Regulations in effect at the time of testing. If the concentration of sodium is greater than 20 milligrams per liter, or if the nitrate nitrogen concentration is greater than five milligrams per liter, or if a volatile organic is detected in any concentration, a document shall be recorded in the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, which identifies the chemicals, their concentrations, and their health effects. A whole house treatment system for removal of volatile organics shall be installed if they are detected. A statement shall be included in the recorded documents to the effect that the treatment unit requires regular maintenance. If volatile organics are detected in a water sample and then found to be absent in a subsequent sampling, the requirements for a recorded document and treatment unit shall only be removed following two successive samplings which show the absence of such contamination. When treatment units are installed, sampling and analysis must be performed and submitted to the Board of Health to demonstrate that the treatment is effective.
Permanent disinfection of a polluted water supply is prohibited. If the natural water quality does not meet the physical and chemical criteria as specified, water conditioning shall be required. Water softener or other treatment backwash shall not be discharged into the on-site sewage disposal system. Treatment units shall be installed with the capability of bypassing such units if necessary or desired. When treatment units are installed, sampling and analysis must be performed and submitted to the Board of Health to demonstrate that the treatment is effective.
Pressure tanks for individual home installation shall be diaphragm type and have an actual minimum liquid capacity of 32 gallons.
A. 
All wells shall be tested to determine yield and water level recovery. All test records and analysis of safe yield shall be sent to the Board. Test pumping shall be conducted at a rate at least equal to the pumping rate expected during normal use. The pump test shall be conducted for a minimum of four hours, unless the Board requires additional testing.
B. 
The pumping test shall be performed by a licensed pump or well drilling contractor and in the presence of the Board agent or member; a minimum of five-gallons-a-minute yield shall be deemed acceptable per dwelling unit.
A well shall be plumb to allow proper installation and pump operation.
Special provisions for large diameter (ten-inch or larger in diameter) shallow wells:
A. 
Bored wells. All bored wells shall be cased with concrete pipe or steel casing, with joints which are watertight from six inches above surface to the depths specified in § 784-10. The minimum thickness of the surrounding concrete seal shall be three inches.
(1) 
Steel used in the manufacture of casing for bored wells should conform to the specifications for casing material described in § 784-9A(2). Schedule 40 steel casing for dug wells shall be one-fourth-inch U.S. standard gauge (or plate thickness) for wells of diameters 18 inches to 48 inches.
(2) 
Precast concrete pipe is usually composed of concrete rings from one to six feet in diameter and approximately three to eight feet long. To serve satisfactorily as casing, these rings should be free of any blemish that would impair their strength or serviceability. In the portion of the well that is to be sealed the joints shall be made watertight.
B. 
Covers. All bored wells shall be provided with a structurally sound cover to prevent injury to people and to prevent the entrance of undesirable water or foreign matter and shall be watertight.
A. 
Whenever there is an interruption in work on the well, such as: overnight shutdown, inclement weather, waiting periods required for the setting up of sealing materials, tests, installation of the pump, etc., the well opening shall be closed with a cover to prevent the introduction of undesirable material into the well and to insure the public safety.
B. 
During interruptions of one week or more, a semipermanent cover shall be installed. For a well cased with steel, a steel cover tack-welded to the top of the casing is adequate.
Water used for cooling parts of engines, air compressors, or other equipment, or water used for air conditioning, shall not be returned to any part of a potable water system or potable aquifer.
All deepening or repair of wells shall meet all the requirements included in these regulations and shall be done with a permit.
Installation of a water storage reservoir, but not an approved water pressure tank, requires approval of the Board or its agent.
An owner or occupant using a polluted water supply or a supply that represents a health hazard shall be notified of the health hazard, in writing, by the Board or its agent.
A. 
Permission may be granted by the Board to use springs, infiltration tile lines, or other similar sources as a water supply, or to install water treatment facilities for agricultural purposes. Plans and specifications for such facilities, together with operating procedures, shall be approved by the Board.
B. 
A physical connection is not permitted between a water supply meeting the requirements of these regulations and another water supply that does not meet such requirements without prior approval of the Board.
See Chapter 759, Variances, of the Code of the Town of Plainville.