Community Well Siting

Required water quality and quantity testing for community public water system’s groundwater sources.

Community water systems that plan to utilize new wells, use unapproved existing wells, or deepen/hydrofracture existing wells must obtain approval from NHDES. Community well siting rules Env-Dw 305 for small systems and Env-Dw 302 for large systems specify the site selection criteria and groundwater withdrawal procedures necessary for approval. The purpose of the rules is to help ensure that adequate water quality and quantity will be provided to customers. Community water systems must be familiar with these procedures to avoid potentially expensive mistakes, such as siting a new well near a known contamination source or performing the pumping test incorrectly.

Wellhead Protection Programs for Community Wells

A community water supplier who is siting a new production well must develop a wellhead protection program (WHPP) in order to minimize the risk of contamination entering the nearby groundwater. A WHPP consists of three tasks: potential contamination source inventory, educational mailing and Best Management Practice (BMP) inspections of potential contamination sources (PCSs). BMP Inspections are only required for large community systems. All tasks are performed within the wellhead protection area (WHPA), typically established through the NHDES community well siting process. For most community wells, the WHPA is a circle centered on the well with a radius between 1,500 and 4,000 feet, depending on the well’s permitted production rate. NHDES provides Wellhead Protection documents with information related to wellhead protection programs for large and small community systems. 


Guidance documents associated with well siting for community water systems.


Forms for large and small community well siting applications/reports.

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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Before an existing bedrock well for a community water system is deepened or hydrofractured, the system is required to obtain preliminary well siting approval from NHDES.

Large Groundwater Withdrawal Permits

New wells for large community water systems will typically require a large groundwater withdrawal permit in addition to the community well siting approval.