South Carolina's Flagship University

Regulatory Pathfinder
for Coastal Development in South Carolina

Residential Wells

If you are interested in opposing a permit sought for a well, one important thing to know is that there are different state regulations for a bored Individual Residential or Irrigation Well than for a drilled one. These specific regulations are clearly identified here. Certain applicable regulations are listed on other pages so make sure you follow the appropriate link below to access all relevant additional information. Also, some regulations use technical words or phrases. These words or phrases are often linked to a list of definitions. Note that the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has a very helpful website on residential wells available here. The information presented in this section is in alphabetical order rather than in order of importance.


(follow the link above for specific information on this subject)

Backflow Prevention

If a well uses a chemical feed system for any reason other than water treatment an approved backflow prevention device is required. This device must be installed so that it precludes a direct pathway for any contaminant to enter an underground source of drinking water.


Bored wells must be more than 15 feet deep.


  1. All wells should be developed properly. If the well is screened, development must be done by a method that ensures water is forced to flow in and out of the screen.
  2. When the water produces water typical of the aquifer being utilized development will be considered complete.
  3. A bored well is considered developed when the well produces water typical of the aquifer being used.
(follow the link above for specific information on this subject)


When completed, a residential or irrigation well must be disinfected. Any time there is maintenance, repair, pump repair, pump installation or testing a well must also be disinfected. Disinfectants placed in a well must provide a chlorine residual between 50 ppm to 250 ppm for at least 4 hours before being flushed from the well. Chlorination shall insure uniform distribution of the chlorine in a well. Afterward, a well must be sufficiently flushed to remove the disinfectant and condition the well for use.


  1. State law prohibits an aquifer from being contaminated by the drilling process or drilling fluid additives.
  2. The water used in the drilling process cannot be taken from a source that could result in the biological or chemical contamination of an aquifer. It is prohibited to take water directly from ponds, lakes, streams or other surface water sources.

Filter Pack (follow the link above for specific information on this subject)


(follow the link above for specific information on this subject)


(follow the link above for specific information on this subject)

Operations and Maintenance

Underground sources of drinking water and public health must be protected from contamination by any residential or irrigation well operation. The well must be operated and maintained at all times to achieve this. If appropriate, the well owner must also protect against vandalism. The well driller is responsible for making sure the well is constructed properly but the owner is responsible for the well's normal wear. Each drilled, but not bored, well must have a sampling spigot installed.

Plumbness and Alignment: wells must be constructed to be plumb and straight enough that no interference is caused with their intended use.


Within 30 days of completing well construction, a Water Well Record Form 1903 or other approved form must be completed and submitted to DHEC by the contractor or owner. In addition to the well record, if chemical or bacterial results or pumping information is available this must also be submitted. If a well is abandoned a Form 1903 must be submitted as well.

Sanitary Seal

  1. There must be a sanitary seal on the top of a residential or irrigation well casing for both drilled and bored wells.
  2. If a vent is used on a drilled well, it must prevent the entrance of contaminants, insects or rainwater.

Well Identification

When completed, a residential or irrigation well must be labeled with an identification plate. The plate must be constructed of durable, weatherproof, rustproof material. The ID plate must be secured permanently to the well casing or enclosure floor around the casing where it is readily visible. It must permanently marked to show:

  1. the name of the company and certification number of the person who drilled the well;
  2. the date it was completed;
  3. the total depth, and the
  4. casing depth.

Well Tested for Yield

If conducted, a yield test shall be done by a standard method and shall accurately measure flow. DHEC must receive a copy of the results with the well record.

More information about all these requirements maybe found at the DHEC link above or through S.C. Code Regs. 61-71(F) and (G), available here.

Last Updated October 29, 2010


This project was supported through a generous grant from the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. The principal investigator is Professor Kim Diana Connolly at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Two law students, Keith Bartlett and Valerie Cochran, provided invaluable work toward project completion. Technical assistance with web design was provided by USC School of Law webmaster Tobias Brasier. Broken links should be reported to lawweb@law.sc.edu. This website is NOT intended as legal advice, and particularized analysis by professionals should be sought wherever appropriate.