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Water Well Drillers Licensing Program

Water well drilling companies that intend to construct a water well in Pennsylvania must first secure a water well drillers license and drilling rig permits.

This is not applicable to any farmers or homeowners who drill their own water wells on their own land or leased land.

Pennsylvania has construction standards for public water-supply wells but not for private water wells. The protection and maintenance of a private well is basically the responsibility of the homeowner.

Drillers renew licenses, add rigs, notify the state of intent to drill, and enter well construction information through an online tool called the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller [PaGWISDriller].

The Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller web application is an interface on the state’s GreenPort website.

Drillers will be taken to the GreenPort home page to enroll the first time they use this interface or to log in if they have already registered.

Detailed instructions for getting started and using the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller web application are provided in the PaGWISDriller User Guide (PDF).

Getting a Water Well Drillers License

To obtain a driller’s license for the first time, drillers must email the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Geological Survey or call 717-702-2017.

The bureau requires an email address for the driller. Once received, the bureau will send the log-in information (license number and one-time pin) needed to register.

The license year runs from June 1 to May 31 of the following year, and license renewals should be made online through the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller web application.

The cost for a license is $60 each year and rig permits are $20 each.

Water Well Completion Reports

Drillers are required by law to submit the construction details of the water well to the state, and to provide the same information to the well owner.

Drillers can fill in required fields for the completion reports on the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller web application.

After entries are submitted, a water well completion report will be generated for printing or download.

By entering data directly into the system, drillers speed up the process of sharing that information with the public and generate data that can be used to better protect groundwater resources.

Entering Accurate Records

An accurate completion report of a water well provides a written record about the well that will long survive the memory of the driller or well owner.

As required by the state’s Water Well Driller’s License Act (Act 610), a printed copy of the water well completion report must be provided to the well owner.

The report may ultimately be used to make important decisions about the well.

The completion report should indicate the following:

  • An accurate location of the well
  • Complete construction information
  • As much detail as possible about the different rocks encountered during drilling
  • Groundwater information such as yield, water-bearing zones, and water levels

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey provides a Guide to Logging Wells (PDF) that drillers may find helpful. A log of a well describes the materials penetrated during drilling.

Rock Types

Knowledge of the possible rock types in the area to be drilled can be helpful when planning and drilling a well.

Drillers can use county rock-type maps to see the general locations and get descriptions of rock types they might encounter.

The county rock type maps are only a regional guide. Drill cuttings may vary from what is expected and should be described in the completion report as they look.

Using the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller System

Using the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System Driller web application, drillers can:

  • Submit and edit well information
  • Print or download water well completion reports
  • Manage their license, including the addition of rig permits or renewals
  • Edit their service profile and make changes to their accounts

All records submitted by water well drillers are entered into the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System.

Water well and spring data from the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System database are available to the public through the Pennsylvania Geologic Data Exploration web application.