The Onsite Wastewater team, along with the Groundwater staff, has collaborated to implement the newly promulgated Ordinance 2017-24 regulating private water wells in Elkhart County.
The ordinance incorporates Indiana statutes:
On November 20, 2017, the Elkhart County Commissioners approved a private water well Ordinance (No. 2017-24) which provides guidance to well drillers wishing to obtain a permit and specifies certain requirements addressing several local environmental concerns related to well siting and testing of source water. All private water wells to be constructed in Elkhart County will need to first obtain a permit prior to construction. Please see the Fees Schedule for permit application fees.
The Ordinance addresses four (4) major concerns as they pertain to public health in Elkhart County.
The first is the proper siting of the well in relation to known and potential sources of contamination. Isolation distances from the well to such things as septic systems, animal feedlots, and/or ponds need to be maintained.
Second is the prohibition of well construction in known areas of groundwater contamination (ie. Superfund sites and chemical spills). This will help verify that known sources of groundwater contamination are not the water sources of the new well.
The third is the prompt and proper well abandonment and required documentation. This will help with future land use development and prevent unintentional groundwater contamination.
Lastly is the testing of the source water for actionable levels of Arsenic and Nitrates, as well as biologic contamination (total coliform and E. coli). This will allow the well owner to know, understand, and address any concerns associated with their well water.
Before beginning the Well Application process, refer to the Elkhart County Process and Procedures for specific instructions.
Permit Application Fee:
Please see the Fees Schedule for permit application fees.
Water Testing Requirements:
See Water Testing Requirements for private water wells.
Some areas in Elkhart County have naturally occurring high levels of Arsenic in the source water. Various other contaminants are also present in localized areas. These areas are to be prohibited from drilling activity (Superfund sites and known areas of groundwater contamination). All of these issues are of vital concern to homeowners regarding their drinking water and known methods of treatment for the contaminants in the source water.
See Section 11 of Ordinance 2017-24, beginning on page 11 for specific instructions on well abandonment, including the requirement to keep detailed and accurate records of the procedure such as is detailed in the Elkhart County Abandoned Private Water Well Location Log.
All licensed well drillers and pump installers must complete the registration form with the Elkhart County Health Department prior to issuance of a permit by the Health Department. There is no fee required for registration. All registrations must be renewed by January 31 of each calendar year.
Early Pre-Application Process for Permitting "Helpful Hint":
Please fax or e-mail as much information as possible to this office regarding any proposed well installation. The more lead time we have to research and investigate the site and adjacent sites, the better our ability to provide the best customer service and reduce the possibility of delays in issuing the permit.
Please contact this office and speak with an Environmentalist regarding water treatment options or contact a local water treatment specialist. Interpretation of testing results can be discussed at that time as well.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Water Availability Use/Rights Frequently Asked Questions
For specific requirements regarding separation distances, refer to 410 IAC 6-8.3-57 Table I - Separation Distances beginning on page 12.