By Senator Knopke
April 21, 1967
SENATE BILL NO. 489
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT providing for the control of water well drilling and
the protection of the ground-water resources of the state;
providing for the promulgation of rules and regulations for
the construction, repair and abandonment of -water wells;
providing for the licensing of water well contractors and for
their qualifications; providing for the collection of a license
fee; providing for the revocation of a water well contractor's
license; providing for the enforcement of provisions of this
act.; requiring water well permits and inspections where nec-
essary; requiring driller records; providing for public hear-
ings and judicial review; providing a penalty for violation;
providing an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Findings and policy.-The Florida Legislature
finds that improperly constructed, operated, maintained or
abandoned water wells can adversely affect the water resources
of this state. Consistent with the duty to safeguard the water
resources of this state, it is declared to be the policy of this
state to require that the location, construction, repair and aban-
donment of water wells conform to such reasonable require-
ments as may be necessary to protect the public.
Section 2. Definitions.--As used in this act:"
(1) "Abandoned water well" means a well whose use has
been permanently discontinued. Any well shall be deemed aban-
doned which is in such a state of disrepair as determined by a
representative of the board that continued use for the purpose
of obtaining ground water or disposing of water or liquid wastes
i (2) "Board" means the Florida board of conservation.
(3) "Division" means the division of water resources, Flor-
ida board of conservation.
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(4) "Construction of water wells" means all acts and ma-
terials necessary to prepare an opening in the ground for the
obtaining of water from the ground or recharging water to
the ground, ineliding the location and excavation of the well,
but excluding the installation of pumps and pumping equip-
S(5) "Repair" means any action which involves the physical
alteration or replacement of any part of a well, but nQt includ-
ing the necessary maintenance of the upper terminus of a well.
(6) "Water well" means any excavation that is drilled, cored,
bored, washed, driven, dug, jetted or otherwise constructed
when the intended use of such excavation is for the location,
:acquisition or artificial recharge of ground water, but does not
include any well temporarily for dewatering purposes.
(7) "Water well contractor" means any person, firm or
corporation engaged in the business of constructing, repairing,
or plugging water wells, hereinafter referred to as "driller."
Section 3. Scope.-No person shall construct, repair or aban-
don, or cause to be constructed, repaired or abandoned, any
"-water well contrary to the provisions of this act and applicable
rules and regulations, provided that this act shall not apply to
any distribution of water beyond the point of discharge from
Section 4. General powers and duties of. the board.-The
board shall have general supervision and authority over con-
struction, repair and abandonment of water wells and the li-
censing of water well contractors and shall be responsible for
the administration of this .act. With respect thereto, it shall:
"(1) Adopt and, from time to time, amend rules and regulo-
"tions governing the location, construction, repair and abandon-
ment of water wells, publish and file same with the secretary
(2) Hold public hearings upon not less than fifteen (15)
days prior notice published once a week for two (2) weeks in
one (1) or more newspapers, as may be necessary to aWsure
general circulation throughout the state or a particular geo-
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graphical area, in connection with the adoption of proposed rules
and regulations and amendments thereto.
(3) Establish procedures and forms for the submission, re-
view, approval and rejection of applications, notifications and
reports required under this act.
(4) Initiate or assist in obtaining, when deemed necessary,
such geologic and hydrologic studies as are needed to determine
appropriate rules and regulations for protecting the ground
water resources in an area.
(5) Maintain a program of evaluation to determine that
the rules and regulations 'are obtaining the desired effects.
(6) Deposit all fees in a special fund, for the implementa-,
tion and administration of this act.
"(7) Enforce the provisions of this act and any rules and
Regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
(8) Issue such additional regulations and take such other
action as may be reasonably necessary to carry out the provi-
sions of this act.
Section 5. Administration by counties under supervision of
(1) The board may authorize any municipality, county or
duly constituted water management district to administer, with-
in the boundaries of said muncipality, county or district, under
the supervision of the board any rules and regulations adopted
pursuant to this act,
S(2) Where a municipality, county or district is authorized
to administer rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this
act, the .board shall promulgate provisions applicable to such
area which shall be followed in the administration of the provi-
sions of this act.
(3) This section shall apply only when found to be con-
venient for the effective administration of rules and regulations
of the board and when a resolution has been adopted by the
governing body of the municipality, county or district express-
"ing 'the intent to administer, under supervision of the board,
the provision of this act.
Section 6. License, water well contractor.-
(1) CONTRATOR'S LICENSE.-Every water well con-
tractor desiring to engage in the business of drilling, repairing
or plugging water wells in Florida shall file an application with
the board for a water well contractor's license, using forms
prepared by the board, setting out qualifications therefore and
such other information, including any examinations, oral or
written, as may be required by the board.
(2) LICENSE FEE.-The fee for such license and renewal
thereof shall be ten dollars ($10.00) for each year.
(3) RENEWING LICENSE.-Licenses issued pursuant to
this section are not transferable and shall expire on December
31 of each year. A license may be renewed for an ensuing year
by making application not later than thirty (30) days after the
expiration date and paying the applicable fee. Such application
shall have the effect of extending the validity of the current
license until a new license is received or the applicant is noti-
fied by the board that it has refused to renew his license. Any
license not renewed by January 30 of each year shall be sus-
pended automatically until renewed. Renewal shall be only upon
application and payment of the applicable fee plus a penalty of
ten dollars ($10.00) for each month or fraction thereof the
application is delinquent. Delinquency in excess of one (1) year
may be deemed as a waiver of the driller's right for renewal
and if he should apply thereafter, the board may require that
he be considered as a new applicant.
(4) DISPLAYING LICENSE.-The license of the driller
shall be displayed in his principal place of business. The name
and license number of the driller shall be displayed prominently
on his drilling rigs and commercial vehicles.
(5) LABORER NOT COVERED.-This section shall not ap-
ply to any person who performs labor or services at the direction
and under the personal supervision of a licensed water well
(6) GOVERNMENT AGENCY EXEMPT FROM FEES.-
Any agency of the federal or state governments or a county, mu-
nicipality or .other political subdivision of the state engaged in
well drilling shall be licensed under this act but shall be exempt
from paying the icen e for the during done by regular
employees of, and wit equipment owned by, the governmental
entity, provided said agency complies with all applicable rules
and regulations as to construction of wells adopted under this
(7) OWN WELL.-Nothing in this act shall prevent a per-
son who has not obtained a license pursuant to section 6 from
constructing a well on his own or leased property intended for
use only in a single family house which is his permanent resi-
dence, or intended for use only for farming purposes on his
farm, and where the waters to be produced are not intended
for use by the public or in any residence other than his own.
Such person shall comply with all rules and regulations as to
construction of wells adopted under this act.
(8) HEARING.-Any person whose application for a license
to engage in business as a water well contractor has been de-
nied may request, and shall be granted, a hearing in the county
where such complainant has his place of business before an
appropriate official of the board.
(9) APPLICATION AFTER REVOCATION.-Any person
whose license has been revoked may be required, upon applica-
tion for a new license and at the discretion of the board, to be
considered as a new applicant. No application for a license issued
pursuant to this section may be made within one (1) year after
Section 7. Water well contractor qualifications.-
(1) An applicant for a license as a water well contractor in
Florida must be qualified as follows:
(a) Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
(b) Be of good moral character;
(c) Demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board a reason-
able knowledge of this act and the rules and regulations adopted
by the board under the provisions of this act, and further, a
knowledge of the techniques and skills necessary for properly
drilling or abandoning a water well;
(d) Have had not less than two (2) years experience in
the work for which he is applying for a license.
(2) Any person of good, moral character who has engaged
in business as a water well contractor for a period of two (2)
years immediately prior to (date of enactment), upon applica-
tion made within twelve (12) months of (date of enactment),
accompanied by satisfactory proof that he has so engaged and
accompanied by payment of the required fees, shall be licensed
as a water well contractor as provided in this act.
Section 8. Rev6cation of license.-
(1) The grounds for revoking a water well contractor's li-
(a) That he has intentionally made a material misstatement
in the application for such license; or
(b) That he has willfully violated any provision of this
(c) That he has obtained, or attempted to obtain, such li-
cense by fraud or misrepresentation; or
(d) That he has been guilty of fraudulent or dishonest prac-
(e) That he has demonstrated lack of competence as driller
of water wells; or
(f) That he has failed or refused to file reports as required
under the provisions of this act or rules and regulations adopt-
ed by the board; or
(g) That he has willfully and contumaciously refused to
obey reasonable orders, rules and regulations of the board,
(2) When the board determines that the holder of any li-
cense issued pursuant to this act has violated any provisions
thereof or any rules and regulations pursuant thereto, the board.
shall authorize suspension or revocation of such license, Pro'
ceedings under. the provisions of this section shall not be de-
pendent upon having exhausted remedies through any other
section of this act.
S(3) The board shi noi the supeted violator at leat
ffteen (15) days beforethe board hearing therefore, shall spece-
fy the grounds for which such license revocation is proposed
with such sufficiency as to protect his constitutional rights
therein as in other civil hearings pertaining to license revoca-
(4) The suspected violator shall be given the opportunity
to present any witnesses or other reasonable evidence before
Sthe board and shall comply with rules or procedure for such
(5) Any order of revocation or suspension of license shall
become effective fifteen (15) days after service thereof. The
S aggrieved party may appeal from the board's findings as pro-
vided in section 14.
Section 9. Enforcement.-
"! (1) When the board has reasonable grounds for believing
that there. has been a violation of this act or any rules or regu-
lations adopted pursuant thereto, the board shall give written
notice to the person alleged to be in violation. Such notice shall
identify the provisions of this act or regulations alleged to be
violated and the facts alleged related thereto. Such notice shall
be served in the manner required by law for the service of
process upon a person in a civil action.
(2) Such notice may be accompanied by an order of the
board requiring described remedial action which, if taken with-
in the time specified in such order, will effect compliance with
the requirements of this act and regulations issued thereunder.
Such order shall become final within thirty (30) days after
service thereof unless a written petition requesting a hearing
is filed sooner.
(8) In lieu of such order the board may require the person
or persons named in the notice to appear at a hearing at a
time and place specified in the notice.
Section 10. Water well permits and inspections.--
(1) The board shall adopt and, from time to time, amend
rules and regulations governing the location, construction, re-
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pair and abandonment of water wells necessary to protect, con-
trol and conserve the quality and availability of underground
(2) Such regulations shall:
(a) Be based on geologic and hydrologic conditions existing
within defined geographic boundaries. These geographic boun-
daries may correspond to political boundaries or be defined by
the board on the basis of geologic and hydrologic conditions.
(b) Require that prior approval of construction methods
shall be obtained from the board before the construction, repair
or abandonment of any well in any specific geographical area
where the board determines such permission to be necessary to
reasonably protect the ground-water resources. Such approval
shall be obtained prior to the commencement of any work, tak-
ing into consideration other applicable state laws.
(c) Require notification in accord with provisions of section
11 to the board in all geographical areas where prior approval
is deemed unnecessary for the construction, repair or abandon-
ment of any water well.
(3) The board shall establish procedures and forms gov-
erning the submission, review, approval and rejection of ap-
(4) Where the board finds that compliance with all require-
ments of this section would result in undue hardship, an ex-
emption from any-one (1) or more of such requirements may
be granted by the board to the extent necessary to ameliorate
such undue hardship and to the extent such exemption can be
granted without impairing the intent and purpose of this act.
(5) No well in existence on the effective date of this act
shall be required to conform to the provisions of subsection
(2) (b) or any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto;
provided, however, that any well now or hereafter abandoned,
including any well deemed to have been abandoned, as defined
in this act, shall be brought into compliance with the require-
ments of this act and any applicable rules or regulations with
respect to abandonment of wells.
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(6) A fee of two dollars ($2.00) shall accompany each ap-
"plication for a permit to construct, repair or abandon a water
well where prior approval of construction methods is required.
- (7) The board is authorized to inspect any water well or
abandoned water well. Duly authorized representatives of the
Board may enter upon, and shall be given access to, any prem-
ises for the purpose of such inspection.
(a) Upon the basis of such inspections, if the board finds
applicable laws, rules or regulations have not been complied
.with, the board shall disapprove the well. If disapproved, no
well shall thereafter be used until brought into compliance with
the rules and regulations.
(b) Any person aggrieved by the disapproval of a well shall
be afforded the opportunity of a hearing before the board.
Section 11. Driller records.-
(1) At the discretion of the board, the driller shall keep ac-
curate records on each water well drilled, repaired or aban-
doned, including, but not limited to, name and address of the
owner, legal or other description adequate to locate the well,
description of construction of the well, driller's log and such
other reasonable information as the board may require.
(2) Each driller shall, within thirty (30) days after com-
pletion of each well, file a report containing such information
with the division on forms provided by the division. Provided,
however, that no report or information shall be required to be
filed with the division if the well is driven by hand or is dug
by the use of a hand auger.
Section 12. Hearings.-One (1) notice shall be published
of any hearing to be held as provided in this act once a week
for two (2) weeks in a newspaper or newspapers published in
and having a general circulation in the county or counties af-
fected. The notice shall state the purpose, time and place of
the hearing. Accurate records of the proceedings had and all
evidence introduced at all hearings shall be preserved.
Section 13. Judicial review.-
(1) In the case of any action taken on the basis of any pro-
ceeding conducted by the board, any person, natural or arti-
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"ficial, aggrieved by such action shall have the right to appeal ^
such decision to the appropriate .court.
(2) The proceeding in court shall be confined to an exami-
nation of the record of the proceedings under this law and no
presumption shall be indulged as to the correctness of the ac-
tion of the board.
Section 14. Penalties.-Any person who violates any pro-
vision of this act or regulations issued hereunder or order pur-
suant hereto is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction
thereof shall be subject to a penalty of one hundred dollars
($100.00). Every day, or any part thereof, in which such vio-
lation occurs shall constitute a separate violation.
Section 15. Conflict with other laws.-The provisions of any
law or regulation of any political subdivision of the state estab-
lishing standards affording greater protection to the water re-
sources shall prevail within the jurisdiction of such political'
subdivision over the provisions of this act and regulations adopt-
Section 16. This act shall take effect October 1, 1967.
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