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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Private Wells

Homeowners who use private wells or cisterns as their source of drinking water should have the water tested annually. Water quality in private wells is not regulated by the EPA or the state.  Homeowners who use private wells or cisterns need to contact a certified lab​  to have the water tested for bacteria and other contaminants, such as nitrates. 

The EPA does not regulate private wells for drinking water, but does offer helpful information.

The CDC also offers guidance on maintenance, testing, treatment, and more.

Properly constructed and maintained water wells [2.6 MB] help ensure that safe, potable water is supplied. All work performed on a well must be performed by a Kentucky Certified Water Well Driller. Please consult the map or directory [691 KB] for your nearest driller.
Private water well owners should be aware of land-use practices and potential sources of contamination adjacent to their wells, which could have an impact on groundwater quality. These may include the application of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to crops and lawns, animal grazing and feeding operations, illegal dumps (such as in a sinkhole) and improperly constructed or maintained septic systems. In addition, some naturally occurring chemicals, such as iron and manganese, can degrade water quality. Technical Assistance is available for well owners on the best ways to main their well and provide advice on common water quality problems. Additionally, the cabinet's generic Groundwater Protection Plan for Domestic Water Well Owners contains many additional ways to protect your well and well water. 

If your well is located in a low-lying area prone to flooding, you should consider having a certified water well driller raise the well casing to at least 12 inches above the historic record flood level, properly sealing the wiring conduit and providing casing bump protection if floating debris is a concern. Another option is to construct a new well at a location outside the flood-prone area.

If you live in an area that was recently flooded, your private water well may be at risk. 
  • Do not drink or wash with your well water.
  • You could get sick from contaminants washed into the well by the flood.

  • Do not turn on the well pump.
  • There is a danger of electrical shock and damage to your well or pump if they were flooded.

  • Do contact a certified water well driller, your local health department and/or the Division of Water.
  • These can help in dealing with the impacts of the flood on your water quality and well system.

  • Do have stored water available.
  • An average family of four uses 400 gallons of water each day for all indoor purposes, from drinking to washing clothes, and preparing meals. For an emergency, it is recommended to store at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days, mainly to provide water for drinking and flushing toilets manually.

  • Do disinfect your water well.
  • Disinfection is necessary to destroy unhealthy bacteria and microorganisms.

  • Do have your water supply well tested.
  • Your well water should be tested by a certified drinking water laboratory for bacteria and other potential contaminants before resuming normal use.

More information on managing your flooded private domestic water supply well:

Private water wells are an important source of water for domestic use, livestock and irrigation. Water quality and its effect on human health, livestock and crops is a major concern.

Construction, modification, and abandonment of wells in Kentucky must be done by a Kentucky Certified (Water) Well Driller.

In Kentucky, there are no permitting applications or fees for constructing or abandoning a water well required of the property owner.  You can find a driller certified to drill water or monitoring wells on our Well Driller Locator​ or Driller Directory [691 KB]. Your certified water well driller will complete and submit the required documentation for your water well and supply you with a copy of these documents within sixty days of completing your well.

In 2015, the video Abandoned Wells: A Guide for Kentucky Landowners​ was created to discuss the regulation, direct viewers to the then-current web location of the Drillers Certification Program forms and information, and to show a driller properly plugging a well.  The video is still relevant today, but please note that the web location of the Drillers Certification Program is now​

Water well and monitoring well construction records are submitted to the Watershed Management Branch by Kentucky Certified Water Well Drillers, in compliance with state well construction regulations 401 KAR 6:310 and 401 KAR 6:350​

Additionally, Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) staff and staff from other agencies conduct inspections on reported, unreported and pre-law water wells, and springs. The information provided to Division of Water (DOW) includes well or spring owner information; location information about these sites; and analytical data from samples collected after well installation, and during well inspections and spring inventories. 

Submitted well construction records are reviewed for compliance with state well construction regulations. Well inspection, spring inventory and analytical data are also reviewed. Upon review, section staff compile the data provided and these data are then scanned electronically and maintained in the DEP Consolidated Groundwater Database (GWDB).

Staff members are then able to assemble and analyze data from these databases to make assessments concerning the quality of the groundwater resources throughout the state. They also perform extensive mapping of well and spring locations and wellhead protection areas throughout the state on U.S. Geological Survey 1:24000 topographic maps. Wells, springs and wellhead protection areas​ are also mapped electronically.

The GWDB currently contains data on more than 90,000 wells and springs located throughout the Commonwealth, with approximately 3,000 additional wells and springs being added to the database annually.​

Assists businesses and individuals in navigating environmental regulatory processes and works closely with landowners and municipalities to return brownfield areas to productive uses.

Regulates pesticide, herbicide and fungicide application and usage in Kentucky.

Regulates groundwater issues related to surface and underground mining.

Regulates oil and gas well construction to help protect groundwater and the environment.

Regulates facilities that handle or generate hazardous waste.

Regulates current landfills, land application sites and closure of pre-law dumps.

Regulates older, pre-law sites on both private and federal lands as well as cleanup from leaks and spills from aboveground petroleum storage tanks and petroleum pipelines.

Regulates below-ground tanks and cleanup related to leaks from underground tanks

Assists property owners with the voluntary remediation of their on-site contamination.

Maintains online searchable well and spring information databases as well as a searchable geologic and hydrologic publications database.​

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
300 Sower Blvd
Frankfort, KY 40601

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The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability or sex. This policy protects the rights of Cabinet employees, service applicants and customers. Vendors, agencies and organizations providing services to the Cabinet or its recipients of federally-aided programs also must comply with this policy.