Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System
Pennsylvania has more than a million domestic water wells, plus an unknown number of other types of water wells, boreholes, and springs. Water well and spring data are available through the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS), which is maintained by DCNR’s Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey.
PaGWIS holds hundreds of thousands of water well records and more than 2,000 spring records, making it an important source of groundwater, water well, and spring data. On average, more than 8,000 new records are added each year.
View or download data for a particular well or spring, or for multiple wells or springs. Searches can be based on specific criteria or geographic areas. Details about the use of PaGWIS and the data it contains are included in A Guide to Using the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS) (PDF).
Water Well Data
The Water Well Drillers License Act of 1955 (Act 610 passed on May 29, 1956) began the statewide process of collecting groundwater data through the licensing of water well drillers. Most of the well data in PaGWIS are from completion reports submitted by the water well drillers, and more than 55,000 records of field-located wells came from a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) database.
Starting in the mid-1960s, drillers were sending paper water-well completion reports to the bureau. In the 1980s, bureau staff were scanning reports and entering data into a digital database. Since the 1990s, water well drillers have had the option to submit their records through an online application called WebDriller. The number of records submitted electronically has been growing proportionately ever since.
The details of water well records vary with each generation of data entry. Some records have only the digital image of the paper report and basic data (e.g., owner, address, county, municipality, driller, and date drilled) entered. The absence of coordinates means that map-based searches will not find such records unless you opt to “include unlocated wells within intersected municipalities.”
Most spring records were obtained from the USGS database and Pennsylvania Geological Survey publications. Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey staff field checked some of the locations and continue to collect spring data to add to PaGWIS.
For more information about PaGWIS, contact the DCNR’s Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey at 717-702-2017.