The primary goal of Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC) is to prevent communicable disease and illness associated with drinking water from small public and individual private water systems. PHSKC has regulatory oversight for individual private wells under Board of Health Title 13, 13.04.070 B and Title 12, 12.24.010 and WAC 246-291. Additionally, Public Health staff answer questions on water quality issues, how to disinfect water systems, and protection of well sources from potential sources of contamination.
On October 6, 2016 the Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Whatcom County v. Western Washington Growth Management Hearing Board ("the Hirst decision'). As outlined in that decision, development permit applications that propose to use a private well water supply (in a basin that is closed or partially closed to surface water withdrawals by the Department of Ecology) must demonstrate that groundwater withdrawal will not impair a senior water right, including instream flows established in the DOE Water Resource Inventory Areas (WIRA). This is referred to as a showing of "legal water availability".
Public Health — Seattle & King County (PHSKC)
PHSKC’s review of applications proposing the use of permit exempt wells will be conducted consistent with Board of Health Titles 12 and 13 which include determination of minimum lot size, well head protection, and minimum water quality and quantity standards. The reviews do not address the full scope of legal "water availability" as determined in the Hirst decision.
Landowners are advised that construction of a permit exempt well meeting the minimum standards of Titles 12 and 13 does not necessarily constitute a right to use groundwater for a specific purpose. King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER) advise landowners to investigate their right to use water prior to drilling a well for use as a residential or commercial water source.
Group B Water Systems
Prior to 2010, the State Department of Health delegated Drinking Water Program responsibilities for Group B systems to PHSKC. In 2010, the State Department of Health became the responsible entity for permitting new Group B public water systems. All new or expanding Group B Water Systems are reviewed by DOH. The PHSKC Environmental Health office in Eastgate does maintain the Group B Water System files for those systems approved by PHSKC.
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Environmental Health Services
14350 SE Eastgate Way
Bellevue, WA 98007
Phone: 206-477-8050 (answered until 4:00 pm)
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Public Health - Seattle & King County has regulatory oversight for small public water systems (Group Bs) serving 2-9 connections and individual private wells under WAC 246-291 and King County Board of Health Titles 12 and 13.
- The Washington State Department of Health regulates larger public water systems with ten or more connections, and or water systems serving 25 or more people for 60 or more days under WAC 246-290.