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Frequently Asked Questions: Well Permitting

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Q:  Is a permit required to drill a well in Missoula County?

A:  Yes, for most wells, except for certain construction wells and monitoring wells.  Drinking, irrigation, and heat source wells all need a permit.  Missoula County began requiring well permits because it was becoming apparent that wells were being constructed that did not meet setbacks, and were not in compliance with approved site plans, leading to unnecessary costs being put on the property owners to either re-locate their well or to have a new site plan prepared and approved.

Q:  What is required to obtain a permit to construct a well?

A:  A completed application, site plan, and permit fee must be submitted for the Department to begin the permit process. The application will need to state the intended use of the well; this is important as different uses have different setback requirements.  The site plan should show the location of the proposed well, your septic system and any surrounding septic systems or sewer lines, and any irrigation ditches or surface water. 

Q:  Can I drill a well where ever I want on my property?

A:  No.  Many properties have a formal MT DEQ approved site plan that was put together as part of a Sanitation in Subdivision review process when the lot was created.  If your parcel has an approved site plan, you must install the well in the approved location, or contact the Health Department about a Modified Site Plan process to change the approved location of the well.  If there is no MT DEQ approved site plan for your property, you still will need to have the well constructed in a location that meets applicable setbacks.  Contact the Health Department for more information on setback requirements. 

Q: Does the well location need to be inspected following construction?

A:  Yes.  By rule, the Well Driller must contact the Health Department within 2 days following the completion of the well.  The Department will then inspect the location of the well to ensure the well was installed in the proper location.  If the well was not installed in the correct location, or does not meet setbacks, the well may need to be abandoned and re-drilled in the proper location.

Q:  Does the Health Department review the construction, quality, or dependability of the well?

A:  No.  The Health Department will only review and inspect the location of the well to ensure it complies with setback requirements and any applicable approved site plan.  MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation oversees construction requirements and water rights issues for wells.

Have more questions?  Contact Us!

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