Skip to main content

Private wells

Private wells

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.
Court decision

Washington State has a new law in response to the Hirst decision. The law, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6091, was passed on Jan. 18 and signed by Gov. Inslee the next day.

The Department of Ecology has posted information about the law on their website. This page includes highlights from the law, a map, and other information.

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.

Learn more about the State Department of Health's Group B well program.

Fact sheets and applications About shallow wells About springs Water purveyor roles Sources of contamination Bacteriological testing Arsenic treatment

Contact us

Environmental Health Services
14350 SE Eastgate Way
Bellevue, WA 98007

Phone: 206-477-8050 (answered until 3:00 pm)

Office hours:

  • Mon. Wed. Fri: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Tues. and Thurs: 10:30 am to 3:00 pm

Share our site at