Private Well Guidelines

These guidelines provide information about private wells for boards of health, well drillers, and well owners.

Proper design and maintenance of drinking water wells is necessary for the protection of public health. The Private Well Guidelines:

  • Explain what private water supplies (private wells) are
  • Assist well drillers with construction standards
  • Provide useful information for well owners

The Guidelines

A private water supply provides water for human consumption and consists of a system that has less than 15 service connections and either:

  1. serves less than 25 individuals, or
  2. serves an average of 25 or more individuals daily for less than 60 days of the year.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, over 500,000 people rely on private wells to provide drinking water because a public water supply is not available to them.

Local boards of health are responsible for regulating private wells. The Private Well Guidelines assist boards of health and well drillers by attempting to introduce some consistency regarding construction standards from town to town. The Guidelines also provide information useful to well owners, developers, and interested local officials.

Additional Resources

Private wells in urban areas

If you live in an area with a public water supply but have a private well, you must be aware of any local bylaws or regulations for private water supplies. The Private Wells in Urban Areas factsheet is a supplement to the Private Well Guidelines that provides some basic information about siting and maintaining drinking-water wells in these areas.

Additional Resources

Contact   for Private Well Guidelines

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