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Groundwater is found below the surface of the earth. Pennsylvania, having a humid climate, has a lot of water in springs, wetlands, streams, and lakes -- yet it has 30 times more groundwater than surface water.

Every day, we withdraw groundwater from wells and springs to meet our household, agricultural, and industrial needs.

Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System

You can search and download from hundreds of thousands of water well records and more than 2,000 spring records in the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System.

From the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System, you can obtain information about:

  • Well sites
  • Construction
  • Hydrogeology
  • Spring locations
  • Water quality

Private Water Wells

Groundwater wells are man-made discharge points. More than a million homeowners in Pennsylvania depend on private water wells for their drinking water needs.

In the Commonwealth, protection and maintenance of a private well is the responsibility of the homeowner.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides Recommendations for Construction of Private Water Wells in Bedrock (PDF) -- the most common type of well in the state.

Some tips for protecting private wells include:

  • Hire a licensed well driller for new construction, modification, or abandonment
  • Have the well water tested once a year
  • Do not dispose of chemicals or pesticides on the ground
  • Maintain septic systems properly

Watch a department water well video about how water wells are drilled and how to keep your water source in good shape.

Abandoned Private Water Wells

Private water wells that are no longer being used should be sealed to prevent migration of contaminants and eliminate the safety hazard of an open hole.

Water well abandonment is covered by Act 610, Water Well Drillers License Act (PDF) and Pennsylvania Code Title 17, Chapter 47 regulations concerning the drilling of water wells.

The property owner is responsible for effectively filling and sealing all abandoned water wells according to these Water Well Abandonment Guidelines (PDF).

Completed Water Well Abandonment Forms (PDF) should be sent to:

Water Well Drillers Licensing Service
Pennsylvania Geological Survey
3240 Schoolhouse Road
Middletown, PA 17057-3534

Geology of Pennsylvania’s Groundwater

The geology and landscape of Pennsylvania varies, and the variations affect the movement and quality of groundwater.

The basics of groundwater are covered in the Pennsylvania Geological Survey booklet:

The Geology of Pennsylvania’s Groundwater (PDF)

Groundwater Data and Reports

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey has been characterizing the state’s groundwater resources since the 1930s.

The survey’s water resource reports contain technical information and maps about the groundwater resources of a specific area, usually a county.

Hyperlinks to the water resource reports can be found in Pennsylvania Geological Survey Publications (ZIP).

These reports also can be accessed through a geographical search on the Pennsylvania Geologic Data Exploration web application.