Water Wells - Permitting, Inspection & Testing
All water wells installed within the City of Wichita for domestic use, lawn and garden, or as a personal use water supply must be permitted by the Water Quality Section of Environmental Health under Public Works and Utilities per City Code (Chapter 7.30). Upon completion of the well installation, the well will undergo inspection by Water Quality staff to ensure that the surface completion is in compliance with City Code. If the well is to be used as a drinking water supply, Water Quality staff will also test the water for bacteria and nitrate content to ensure that the water is safe to consume with respect to these two components. A more detailed description of the water well permitting, inspection, and testing process is provided below.
Registered Licensed Water Well Contractors
Water well contractors must be licensed by the State of Kansas and registered with the City of Wichita.
It is unlawful for any person to engage in the operation of a water well-drilling business within the city, unless such person has registered with the city to engage in such business. No person shall be registered by the city to engage in a business of water well drilling unless such applicant is licensed as a water well driller by the State of Kansas (Ord. Number 46-119, adopted April 6, 2004).
For further information see the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.
City of Wichita Licensed Water Well Contractors
View a list of Licensed Water Well Contractors in Wichita.
Location & Construction Standards
Environmental Health inspects to make sure:
- All wells are located within the required minimum distances from potential pollution sources.
- All wells appear to meet current construction (wellhead completion) standards.
- Any abandoned wells appear to have been properly plugged (decommissioned) by inspection and/or reviewing the plugging report.
- No well poses a significant risk to the groundwater.
Drilling a Water Well
A permit must be obtained from Environmental Health prior to installing any private water well within the Wichita city limits, typically this is done by the well driller. Wells that will be used to irrigate areas greater than two acres may need a permit from the Kansas Department of Agriculture - Water Appropriation Program.
Submit a Permit Application
A permit application must be submitted for approval prior to well installation. The application may be submitted by fax, mail, or directly to Environmental Health. A site plan must be received along with a $150 fee (including application and inspection fees) prior to application approval by Environmental Health. Once the well has been installed, the driller will submit a copy of the drilling log. Only State-licensed well contractors registered with the City may drill new wells.
View the Water Well Permit Application (PDF).
Working on the Water Well
The homeowner may add to the casing, replace a seal or vent, or work on a pump. A plumber may work on a pump, but may not alter the casing or well seal. A state-licensed water well contractor may work on, add to, or extend the casing, or replace a seal or add a vent. Some repairs or additions may constitute the reconstruction of a well and would require filing a WWC-5 form with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Although anyone may plug a well, it is recommended that only city-registered water well contractors plug wells. It would require the contractor to send a completed Water Well Plugging Record (WWC-5P) to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and a copy to Environmental Health.
Sampling the Water Well
- Only personal-use water wells that meet current location and construction/completion standards will be sampled and tested.
- If a water sample is found to be bacteriologically unsafe, the well must be chlorinated and re-sampled and tested until a bacteriologically safe water sample is obtained.
- In the City of Wichita, if a bacteriologically safe sample cannot be obtained, the property owner must take whatever action is deemed necessary by Environmental Health to obtain a potable water supply.
- If warranted, a screening of surrounding land uses and past history of property can offer clues to determine if organic or inorganic chemical analysis will be required.
Submit a Water Well Record (WWC-5)
Within 30 days after the construction/reconstruction of your well (example: re-driving a sandpoint well), either you or the licensed water well contractor (if you hired one) must send a completed Water Well Record (WWC-5) to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and a copy to Environmental Health.
View the Water Well Forms and Procedures (PDF).
Testing Your Personal Use Water Well
Environmental Health recommends annual testing for bacteria and nitrates.
Surrounding land uses and past history of property can offer clues on what tests to run. Brochures available through the Sedgwick County Extension Service, 316-660-0100, are valuable resources. "Suggested Water Tests for Private Systems" and "Questions to Ask Before Buying Water Treatment Equipment" are both excellent resources.
Title Transfer Inspections
Per City Code Chapter 7.30.020 (B), a property owner or other holder of a legal interest in the property is obligated to request a water well inspection upon offering a property containing a water well for a transfer of ownership.
During a Title Transfer Inspection, all wells are inspected to ensure compliance with city and state regulations. Water from wells serving homes or businesses for personal use is required to be tested to ensure that it is potable based upon the tests done. Any well found to be out of compliance must be corrected according to regulations as instructed by the inspector.
On-site sewage systems are evaluated at the request of the involved parties to ensure compliance with local and state requirements. Any on-site system found to be out of compliance, causing a nuisance or health risk, must be repaired or replaced according to requirements provided under City Code Chapter 16.12.
Written reports are provided to the requesting party for Title Transfer Inspections. The final cost for a Title Transfer Inspection will vary depending upon the number of water samples and follow-up inspections provided. The fee for Title Transfer Inspections is paid in advance. All payments for services are due upon receipt of invoices. Inspections are considered valid for a period of 180 days if there was no title transfer.
Request a Title Transfer Inspection
Before any property changes ownership in the City of Wichita, all wells on the property are required to be inspected. If the well is for personal use, the water must also be tested.
A Title Transfer Inspection can consist of a water quality program records review, an on-site inspection of any water well(s), inspector-drawn water samples, and any on-site wastewater system.
The current fee for a Title Transfer Inspection is $125, which is required to be paid prior to inspection. Water testing and multiple rechecks will incur additional charges. Inspection reports may be provided within 5 business days of request for an additional fee of $100.
View the Title Transfer Inspection Request (PDF).
After all the necessary inspection(s), corrections, sampling, connections, or other work has been completed, an inspection report will be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the person requesting the Title Transfer Inspection. A copy can be sent to the property owner, buyer, and/or realtor(s), if email addresses are provided.