Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
6/30/2022

Part I. General Framework for Regulations

Article 1
General Requirements

12VAC5-630-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

"Abandoned well" means a private well whose pump has been disconnected for reasons other than repair or replacement, or whose use has been discontinued or pronounced abandoned by the owner. A temporarily abandoned well is a well that is intended to be returned to service as a source of water at some future time. A permanently abandoned well is a well that is not intended to be used as a source of water at any future time. Abandoned wells must meet the requirements of 12VAC5-630-450.

"Agent" means a legally authorized representative of the owner.

"Annular space" means the space between the bore hole wall and the outside of a water well casing pipe, or between a casing pipe and a liner pipe.

"Aquifer" means a geologic formation, group of formations, or part of a formation, that transmits water.

"Bedrock" means any solid rock underlying soil, sand, or clay.

"Bored well" means a well that is excavated by means of a soil auger (hand or power) as distinguished from a well which is drilled, driven, dug, or jetted.

"Closed-loop ground-source heat pump well" means a well consisting of a sealed loop of plastic pipe buried beneath the earth's surface to allow heat transfer between the fluid in the pipe and the earth.

"Collapsing material" means any soil or gravel material which collapses upon itself forming a seal with the casing and leaves no voids around the casing.

"Commercially dependent well" means a well that is the sole source of water for a commercial facility that requires the water from the well for continued operation. Examples include wells serving an ice plant, a car wash facility, irrigation for commercial nurseries, or agricultural wells that provide water for livestock or irrigation.

"Commissioner" means the State Health Commissioner or his subordinate who has been delegated powers in accordance with 12VAC5-630-90 B of this chapter.

"Confined aquifer" means an aquifer that is confined by an overlying impermeable formation.

"Consolidated rock" means a formation consisting entirely of a natural rock formation that contains no soil and does not collapse against the well casing.

"Construction of wells" means acts necessary to construct private wells, including the location of private wells, the boring, digging, drilling, or otherwise excavating of a well hole and the installation of casing with or without well screens, or well curbing.

"Deep well ejector pump system" means a well that utilizes a casing adapter and a deep well ejector. These wells must maintain a constant vacuum to operate.

"Dewatering well" means a driven well constructed for the sole purpose of lowering the water table and kept in operation for a period of 60 days or less. Dewatering wells are used to allow construction in areas where a high water table hinders or prohibits construction and are always temporary in nature.

"Disinfection" means the destruction of all pathogenic organisms.

"Division" means the Division of On-Site Sewage and Water Services.

"District health department" means a consolidation of local health departments as authorized in § 32.1-31 C of the Code of Virginia.

"Drilled shallow well suction pump system" means a drilled well two inches or less in diameter that utilizes an offset pump to draw water from the well through the casing. These wells must maintain a constant vacuum in order to operate.

"Drilled well" means a well that is excavated wholly or in part by means of a drill (either percussion or rotary) which operates by cutting or abrasion.

"Driven well" means a well that is constructed by driving a pipe, at the end of which there is a drive point and screen, without the use of any drilling, boring or jetting device.

"Dug well" means a well that is excavated by means of picks, shovels, or other hand tools, or by means of a power shovel or other dredging or trenching machinery, as distinguished from a bored, drilled, driven, or jetted well.

"Emergency well replacement" means the replacement of an existing private drinking water well, heat pump well, or commercially dependent well that has failed to deliver the water needed for its intended use. Such failure requires the drilling of a new well or extensive modifications to the existing well. The replacement of failed noncommercial irrigation wells, and other types of private wells are not considered emergencies.

"Gravel pack" means gravel placed outside a well screen in a well to assist the flow of water into the well screen and to inhibit clogging of the screen.

"Ground water" means any water, except capillary moisture, beneath the land surface in the zone of saturation or beneath the bed of any stream, lake, reservoir or other body of surface water within the boundaries of this Commonwealth, whatever may be the subsurface geologic structure in which such water stands, flows, percolates, or otherwise occurs.

"Grout" means any stable, impervious bonding material, reasonably free of shrinkage, which is capable of providing a watertight seal in the annular spaces of a water well throughout the depth required, to protect against the intrusion of objectionable matter.

"Jetted well" means a well that is excavated using water pumped under pressure through a special washing point to create a water jet which cuts, abrades, or erodes material to form the well.

"Local health department" means the department established in each city and county in accordance with § 32.1-30 of the Code of Virginia.

"Noncollapsing material" means soil or gravel material which can maintain an open bore hole long enough to grout the annular space between a well and the bore hole. For the purpose of this chapter, soil or gravel material which collapsed upon itself but created voids around the casing is considered noncollapsing material.

"Observation or monitoring well" means a well constructed to measure hydrogeologic parameters, such as the fluctuation of water levels, or for monitoring the quality of ground water, or for both purposes.

"Owner" means any person, who owns, leases, or proposes to own or lease a private well.

"Person" means any and all persons, including individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, public or private institutions, municipalities or political subdivisions, governmental agencies, or private or public corporations organized under the law of this Commonwealth or any other state or country.

"Private well" means any water well constructed for a person on land which is owned or leased by that person and is usually intended for household, ground water source heat pump, agricultural use, industrial use, or other nonpublic water well.

"Replacement well" means a well being constructed to take the place of an existing well that is being taken out of service and is being abandoned.

"Sanitary survey" means an investigation of any condition that may affect public health.

"Screen" means the intake section of a well that obtains water from an unconsolidated aquifer providing for the water to flow freely and adding structural support to the bore hole. Screens are used to increase well yield or prevent the entry of sediment, or both.

"Sewage" means water carried and nonwater carried human excrement, kitchen, laundry, shower, bath, or lavatory wastes separately or together with such underground, surface, storm and other water and liquid industrial wastes as may be present from residences, buildings, vehicles, industrial establishments or other places.

"Sewage disposal system" means a sewerage system or treatment works designed not to result in a point source discharge.

"Sewer" means any sanitary or combined sewer used to convey sewage or municipal or industrial wastes.

"Sewerage system" means pipelines or conduits, pumping stations and force mains and all other construction, devices and appliances appurtenant thereto, used for the collection and conveyance of sewage to a treatment works or point of ultimate disposal.

"Subsurface soil absorption" means a process which utilizes the soil to treat and dispose of sewage effluent.

"Treatment works" means any device or system used in the storage, treatment, disposal or reclamation of sewage or combinations of sewage and industrial wastes, including but not limited to pumping, power and other equipment and appurtenances, septic tanks, and any works, including land, that are or will be (i) an integral part of the treatment process or (ii) used for the ultimate disposal of residues or effluents resulting from such treatment.

"Variance" means a conditional waiver of a specific regulation which is granted to a specific owner relating to a specific situation or facility and may be for a specified time period.

"Water table" means the uppermost surface of ground water saturation. The level in the saturated zone at which the pressure is equal to atmospheric pressure.

"Water well" or "well" means any artificial opening or artificially altered natural opening, however made, by which ground water is sought or through which ground water flows under natural pressure or is intended to be artificially drawn; provided this definition shall not include wells drilled for the following purposes: (i) exploration or production of oil or gas, (ii) building foundation investigation and construction, (iii) elevator shafts, (iv) grounding of electrical apparatus, or (v) the modification or development of springs.

"Yield" means the quantity of water, usually measured in volume of water per unit time, which may flow or which may be pumped, from a well or well field.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.1, eff. April 1, 1992.

Article 2
General Provisions

12VAC5-630-20. Authority for regulations.

Article 2
General Provisions

Title 32.1 of the Code of Virginia, and specifically §§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176.4, provide that the State Board of Health has the duty to protect the public health and to ensure that ground water resources are not adversely affected by the construction and location of private wells. In order to discharge this duty, the board is empowered to supervise and regulate the construction and location of private wells within the Commonwealth.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.3, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-30. Purpose of regulations.

These regulations have been promulgated by the State Board of Health to:

1. Ensure that all private wells are located, constructed and maintained in a manner which does not adversely affect ground water resources, or the public welfare, safety and health;

2. Guide the State Health Commissioner in his determination of whether a permit for construction of a private well should be issued or denied;

3. Guide the owner or his agent in the requirements necessary to secure a permit for construction of a private well; and

4. Guide the owner or his agent in the requirements necessary to secure an inspection statement following construction.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.3, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-40. Relationship to Virginia Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations.

This chapter supersedes 12VAC5-610-1150 of the Virginia Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations, and 12VAC5-610-1140 B and C of the Virginia Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations which address private wells, and were adopted by the State Board of Health pursuant to Title 32.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.4, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-50. Relationship to the State Water Control Board.

This chapter is independent of all regulations promulgated by the State Water Control Board. Ground water users located in a ground water management area may be required to obtain a permit from the State Water Control Board in addition to obtaining a permit from the Department of Health.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.5, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-60. Relationship to the Department of Environmental Quality, Waste Management Division.

This chapter establishes minimum standards for the protection of public health and ground water resources. Observation wells, monitoring wells, and remediation wells constructed under the supervision of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Waste Management Division, are governed by 12VAC5-630-420.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.6, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-70. Relationship to the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

This chapter is independent of and in addition to the requirements of the Uniform Statewide Building Code. All persons required to obtain a well permit by this chapter shall furnish a copy of the permit to the local building official, upon request, when making application for a building permit. Prior to obtaining an occupancy permit, an applicant shall furnish the local building official with a copy of the inspection statement demonstrating the water supply has been inspected, sampled (when applicable), and approved by the district or local health department.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.7, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-80. Relationship to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

In accordance with § 54.1-1100 of the Code of Virginia, any contractor constructing a water well to reach ground water shall possess, as a minimum, a valid Class B contractors license.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.8, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-90. Administration of regulations.

This chapter is administered by the following:

A. The State Board of Health, hereinafter referred to as the board, has the responsibility to promulgate, amend, and repeal regulations necessary to ensure the proper construction and location of private wells.

B. The State Health Commissioner, hereinafter referred to as the commissioner, is the chief executive officer of the State Department of Health. The commissioner has the authority to act, within the scope of regulations promulgated by the board, and for the board when it is not in session. The commissioner may delegate his powers under this chapter in writing to any subordinate, with the exception of (i) his power to issue variances under § 32.1-12 of the Code of Virginia and 12VAC5-630-170, (ii) his power to issue orders under § 32.1-26 of the Code of Virginia and 12VAC5-630-140 and 12VAC5-630-150 B and (iii) the power to revoke permits or inspection statements under 12VAC5-630-290, which may only be delegated pursuant to § 32.1-22 of the Code of Virginia.

The commissioner has final authority to adjudicate contested case decisions of subordinates delegated powers under this section prior to appeal of such case decisions to the circuit court.

C. The State Department of Health hereinafter referred to as department is designated as the primary agent of the commissioner for the purpose of administering this chapter.

D. The district or local health departments are responsible for implementing and enforcing the regulatory activities required by this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.9, eff. April 1, 1992.

12VAC5-630-100. Right of entry and inspections.

In accordance with the provisions of §§ 32.1-25 and 32.1-12 and 32.1-176.6 of the Code of Virginia, the commissioner or his designee shall have the right to enter any property to ensure compliance with this chapter.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-176 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-100 § 1.10, eff. April 1, 1992.

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