By Senators Gunter and Friday
April 21, 1969
3 A bill to be entitled
4 AN ACT relating to water wells; providing
5 that the board of conservation shall regu-
6 late construction of wells; providing for
7 delegation of administration to political
8 subdivisions; providing for inspections
9 by board; providing for licensing and
10 examination of water well contractors;
11 providing exemptions; providing fees;
12 providing penalties; providing an effec-
14 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of
16 Section 1. Short title.-This act shall be
17 known and may be cited as the "Florida water well
18 construction act."
19 Section 2. Findings and policy.-The legisla-
20 ture finds that improperly constructed, operated,
21 maintained, or abandoned water wells adversely affect
22 the groundwater resources of this state. Consistent
23 with the duty to safeguard the groundwater resources
24 of this state, it is declared to be the policy of this
25 state to require that the location, construction, re-
26 pair, and abandonment of water wells conform to such
27 reasonable requirements as may be necessary to pro-
28 tect groundwater resources.
29 Section 3. Definitions.-As used in this act:
1 (1) "Abandoned water well" means a well
2 whose use has been permanently discontinued. Any well
3 shall be deemed abandoned which is in such a state
4 of disrepair as determined by a representative of
5 the board that continued use for the purpose of
6 obtaining groundwater or disposing of water or liquid
7 wastes is impracticable.
8 (2) "Construction of water wells" means all
9 acts necessary to obtain groundwater by wells, in-
10 cluding the location and excavation of the well, but
11 excluding the installation of pumps and pumping
13 (3) "Board" means the Florida board of con-
15 (4) "Political subdivision" means a city,
16 town, county, district, or other public body created
17 by or pursuant to state law, or any combination
18 thereof acting cooperatively or jointly.
19 (5) "Repair" means any action which involves
20 the physical alteration or replacement of any part
21 of a well.
22 (6) "Well" means any excavation that is
23 drilled, cored, bored, washed, driven, dug, jetted,
24 or otherwise constructed when the intended use of
25 such excavation is for the location, acquisition,
26 development, or artificial recharge of groundwater,
27 but such term does not include an excavation made for
28 the purpose of obtaining or for prospecting for oil,
29 natural gas, minerals, or products of mining or
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1 quarrying, or for inserting media to dispose of oil
2 brines or to repressure oil or natural gas bearing
3 formation or for storing petroleum, natural gas, or
4 other products.
5 (7) "Water well contractor" means any person,
6 firm, or corporation engaged in the business of con-
7 structing water wells.
8 (8) "Well seal" means an approved arrangement
9 or device to prevent contaminants from entering the
10 well at the upper terminal.
S 11 Section 4. Scope.-No person shall construct,
12 repair, abandon, or cause to be constructed, re-
13 paired, or abandoned any water well contrary to the
14 provisions of this act and applicable rules and
15 regulations, provided that this act shall not apply
16 to equipment used temporarily for dewatering purposes.
17 Section 5. Authority to adopt rules, regu-
18 lations, and procedures.-The board shall adopt, and
19 may from time to time amend, rules and regulations
20 governing the location, construction, repair, and
21 abandonment of water wells and shall be responsible
22 for the administration of this act. With respect
23 thereto it shall:
S 24 (1) Enforce the provisions of this act and
25 any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
26 (2) Delegate, at its discretion, to any
27 political subdivision any of its authority under
28 this act in the administration of the rules and
29 regulations adopted hereunder.
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1 (3) Establish procedures and forms for the
2 submission, review, approval, and rejection of appli-
3 cations, notifications, and reports required under
4 this act.
5 (4) Require at its discretion the making and
6 filing of logs and the saving of cuttings and cores,
7 which shall be delivered to the division of geology
8 of the board.
9 (5) Issue such additional regulations and take
10 such other actions as may be necessary to carry out
11 the provisions of this act.
12 Section 6. Prior permission and notifica-
14 (1) Taking into consideration other applicable
15 state laws, in any geographical area where the board
16 determines such permission to be reasonably necessary
17 to protect the groundwater resources, prior per-
18 mission shall be obtained from the board for each of
19 the following:
20 (a) The construction of any water well;
21 (b) The repair of any water well; or
22 (c) The abandonment of any water well;
23 Provide that in any area where undue hardship might
24 arise by reason of such requirement, prior permission
25 will not be required.
26 (2) The board shall be notified of any of the
27 following whenever prior permission is not required:
28 (a) The construction of any water well;
29 (b) The repair of any water well; or
30 (c) The abandonment of any water well.
1 Section 7. Existing installations.-No well
2 in existence on the effective date of this act shall
3 be required to conform to the provisions of section
4 6 of this act or any rules or regulations adopted
5 pursuant thereto; provided, however, that any well
6 now or hereafter abandoned or repaired as defined in
7 this act shall be brought into compliance with the
8 requirements of this act and any applicable rules or
9 regulations with respect to abandonment of wells, and
10 further provided that any well which is determined
11 by the board to be a hazard to the groundwater re-
12 sources must comply with the provisions of this act
13 and applicable rules and regulations within a rea-
14 sonable time after notification of such determination
15 has been given.
16 Section 8. Inspections.-
17 (1) The board is authorized to inspect any
18 water well or abandoned water well. Duly authorized
19 representatives of the board may at reasonable times
20 enter upon and shall be given access to any premises
21 for the purpose of such inspection.
22 (2) If upon the basis of such inspections the
23 board finds applicable laws, rules, or regulations
24 have not been complied with, the board shall dis-
25 approve the well. If disapproved, no well shall
26 thereafter be used until brought into compliance
27 with the rules and regulations promulgated under
28 this law.
29 (3) Any person aggrieved by the disapproval
1 of a well shall be afforded the opportunity of a
2 hearing as provided in chapter 120, FloridaStatutes.
3 Section 9. Licenses.-
4 (1) Every person who wishes to engage in
5 business as a water well contractor shall obtain
6 from the board a license to conduct such business.
7 (2) The board may adopt and from time to
8 time amend rules and regulations governing applica-
9 tions for water well contractor licenses, provided
10 that the board shall license as a water well contrac-
11 tor any person properly making application therefore
12 who is not less than twenty-one (21) years of age, of
13 good moral character, has knowledge of rules and
14 regulations adopted under this act, and has had not
15 less than two (2) years' experience in the work for
16 which he is applying for a license; and provided
17 further that the board shall prepare an examination
18 which each such applicant must pass in order to
19 qualify for such license.
20 (3) This section shall not apply to any per-
21 son who performs labor or services at the direction
22 and under the supervision of a licensed water well
24 (4) A political subdivision engaged in well
25 drilling shall be licensed under this act but shall
26 be exempt from paying the license fees for the
27 drilling done by regular employees of and with
28 equipment owned by it.
29 (5) Any person who was engaged in the business
1 of water well contracting for a period of two (2)
2 years immediately prior to September 1, 1969, shall
3 upon application made within twelve (12) months
4 of said date, accompanied by satisfactory proof that
5 he was so engaged, and accompanied by payment of the
6 required fees, be licensed as a water well contractor
7 as provided in subsection (1) of this section with-
8 out fulfilling the requirement that he pass any
9 examination prescribed pursuant thereto.
10 (6) Any person whose application for a
11 license to engage in business as a water well con-
12 tractor has been denied may request, and shall be
13 granted a hearing in accordance with chapter 120,
14 Florida Statutes.
15 (7) Licenses issued pursuant to this section
16 are not transferable and shall expire on July 1 of
17 each year. A license may be renewed without ex-
18 amination for an ensuing year by making application
19 not later than thirty (30) days after the expiration
20 date and paying the applicable fee. Such application
21 shall have the effect of extending the validity of the
22 current license until a new license is received or
23 the applicant is notified by the board that it has
24 refused to renew his license. After July 31 of each
25 year, a license will be renewed only upon appli-
26 cation and payment of the applicable fee plus a
27 penalty of fifty dollars ($50).
28 (8) Whenever the board determines that the
29 holder of any license issued pursuant to this section
1 has violated any provision of this act, or any rule
2 or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the board is
3 authorized to suspend or revoke any such license.
4 Any order issued pursuant to this subsection shall be
5 served upon the license holder pursuant to the pro-
6 vision of subsection (1) of section 12 of this act.
7 Any such order shall become effective thirty (30)
8 days after service thereof, unless a written petition
9 requesting hearing under the procedure provided in
10 chapter 120, Florida Statutes, is filed sooner. Any
11 person aggrieved by any order issued after such
12 hearing may appeal therefrom to any court of compe-
13 tent jurisdiction.
14 (9) No application for a license issued pur-
15 suant to this section may be made within one (1)
16 year after revocation thereof.
17 Section 10. Exemptions.-
18 (1) Where the board finds that compliance
19 with all requirements of this act would result in un-
20 due hardship, an exemption from any one (1) or more
21 such requirements may be granted by the board to the
22 extent necessary to ameliorate such undue hardship and
23 to the extent such exemption can be granted without
24 impairing the intent and purpose of this act.
25 (2) Nothing in this act shall prevent a person
26 who has not obtained a license pursuant to section 9
27 of this act from constructing a well on his own or
28 leased property intended for use only in a single
29 family house which is his permanent residence or
1 intended for use only for farming purposes on his
M 2 farm, and where the waters to be produced are not
3 intended for use by the public or in any residence
4 other than his own. Such person shall comply with
5 all rules and regulations as to construction of
6 wells adopted under this act.
7 Section 11. Fees.-The following fees are
9 (1) A fee of two dollars ($2) shall accompany
10 each application for permission required under sub-
11 section (1) of section 6 of this act.
12 (2) A fee of one hundred dollars ($100) shall
13 accompany each new application for a license required
14 under section 9 of this act.
15 (3) A fee of twenty-five dollars ($25) shall
16 accompany each application for a renewal of
17 license under section 9 of this act.
18 Section 12. Enforcement.-
19 (1) Whenever the board has reasonable
20 grounds for believing that there has been a violation
21 of this act or any rule or regulation adopted pur-
22 suant thereto, the board shall give written notice
23 to the person alleged to be in violation. Such
24 notice shall identify the provision of this act or
25 regulation issued hereunder alleged to be violated
26 and the facts alleged to constitute such violation.
27 (2) Such notice shall be served in the
28 manner required by law for the service of process
29 upon persons in a civil action and may be accompanied
1 by an order of the board requiring described remedial
2 action, which if taken within the time specified in
3 such order will effect compliance with the require-
4 ments of this act and regulations issued hereunder.
5 Such order shall become final unless a request for
6 hearing as provided in chapter 120, Florida Statutes,
7 is made within thirty (30) days from the date of
8 service of such order. In lieu of such order the
9 board may require the person named in such notice
10 to appear at a hearing at a time and place specified
11 in the notice.
12 Section 13. Penalties.-Any person who vio-
13 lates any provision of this act or regulations issued
14 hereunder or order pursuant hereto shall be subject
15 to a penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500).
16 Every day or any part thereof in which such violation
17 occurs shall constitute a separate violation.
18 Section 14. Conflict with other laws.-The
19 provisions of any law or regulation of any political
20 subdivision establishing standards affording greater
21 protection to the groundwater resources shall pre-
22 vail within the jurisdiction of such political sub-
23 division over the provisions of this act and regula-
24 tions adopted hereunder.
25 Section 15. If any provision of this act is
26 held to be invalid, such holding shall not operate
27 to invalidate other provisions of the act.
28 Section 16. This act shall take effect
29 September 1, 1969.
REFERENCE BUREAU SUMMARY
Creates the Water Well Construction Act to protect ground-
water resources through state regulation by the Board of
Authorizes the Board to grant permits for the construction,
repair and abandonment of water wells in areas where it deems
necessary. Provides for exceptions in cases of undue hardship
and requires notification to the Board in such cases. Excludes
wells presently existing but requires compliance with abandon-
ment and certain other requirements. Authorizes inspection of
wells by the Board. Prohibits operation of wells not in com-
pliance with Board regulation. Affords judicial review to
Requires licensing of water well contractors, subject to regu-
lation and examination by the Board of Conservation. Grand-
fathers in certain experienced operators. Sets fees for applica-
tions, licenses and annual renewals. Exempts political sub-
divisions from license fees. Permits the Board to revoke and
suspend licenses after notification, subject to judicial review.
Permits the Board to grant exemptions when undue hardship
exists. Provides exemption for persons drilling on their own
property or for farming purposes. Requires that the Board give
written notice to persons in violation of its regulations, and
provides for service of orders requiring remedial action. Sub-
jects violations to maximum $500 fine.