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Environmental Drilling Permits

Environmental drilling is required for investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites. Various agencies may have jurisdiction over these investigations and cleanups. Environmental drilling is also conducted for Real Estate Phase 2 environmental assessments. In accordance with the Sonoma County well ordinance, environmental drilling permits for these activities are issued by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.

Apply for a Drilling Permit

For Regional Board Lead/
Environmental Assessment/LOP Lead

Environmental Drilling Permit Application (PDF: 132 Kb)

Attachment 3: Exemption for Proposed Monitoring Well (PDF: 33.8 Kb)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is environmental drilling?

Environmental drilling is used to determine the existence of contamination in soil or groundwater. Discrete undisturbed soil and groundwater samples are recovered from the subsurface in order to evaluate, monitor and remediate contamination impacting the environment.

2. Do I need a permit to drill environmental borings and wells in Sonoma County?

Generally yes, but some exceptions may apply.

3. What do I need to submit with my Application for Drilling Permit?

The permit application must have the original signature of the C-57 licensed contractor. Permit applications must include access agreements or encroachment permits for all offsite work.

For Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) lead sites, the appropriate fee (PDF: 53.2 Kb), a copy of a concurrence letter for the proposed work, a copy of a workplan, a site safety plan, and a plot map must be submitted.

For environmental assessments, the appropriate fee, a copy of a workplan, a site safety plan, and a plot map must also be submitted.

For Local Oversight Program (LOP) lead sites, a concurrence letter for the proposed work, a workplan and site safety plan must be on file with the Department of Health Services. Please do not resubmit these documents if they are on file. No permit fees are required for LOP lead sites when the work is directed by LOP staff.

4. What is an Attachment 3 and when is it needed?

An Attachment 3 is an exemption from the Sonoma County Well Ordinance for wells proposed within setbacks from a sewage disposal system. If you check "Yes" on the permit application for monitoring wells being constructed within 100 ft. of a septic tank or leachfield, 50 ft. of any sanitary sewer line, or 25 ft. of any private sanitary sewer line, then an Attachment 3 form must be submitted with the permit application.

5. Can I get an Attachment 3 form online?

Yes, the form is available here (PDF: 33.8 Kb)

6. Can I get a permit application online?

Yes. the form is available here (PDF: 132 Kb). Please note, however, that an original signature is required on the permit.

7. What is the typical turnaround time to get a permit issued?

It is our goal to issue permits within 2-3 weeks. However, permit issuance may take longer if all the pertinent information is not provided upon the initial submittal.

8. Can I pay a fee to expedite a permit?

No, there is not a mechanism to pay for expediting permits.

9. How do I find out if my permit has been issued?

Call (707) 565-6565 and the clerical staff can check if a permit has been issued.

10. Do I need to schedule an appointment for a grout inspection?

No. We do not set appointments for grout inspections, however, you are required to notify this office at least 48 hours in advance of the work.

11. Who do I contact regarding technical issues and notification?

For Local Oversight Program (LOP) sites, contact the caseworker for your site. For Regional Board lead sites or environmental assessments, contact Leslye Choate.

12. How do I determine how much to pay for my permit?

Permits for LOP sites are fee-exempt when the work is directed by LOP staff. For all other permitting, refer to the fee schedule (PDF: 53.2 Kb). Please note that the fee for the first well is a higher rate than subsequent wells. This is also the case with borings, geotechnical borings, and well destructions. See also Question #13 below regarding the need for a separate application for each drilling category.

13. What if I plan to do "step-out" borings?

"Step-out" borings may be constructed with verbal or written concurrence from the overseeing agency and this program. A new permit application must be submitted within 7 days of the work, and the additional boring fee will be charged. "Step-out" monitoring wells will require a new permit with the full permit fee paid. Note that LOP site permits are fee-exempt when the work is directed by LOP staff.

14. Can I combine different fee categories, such as borings, geotechnical borings, wells, and well destructions on the same Application for Drilling Permit?

No. A separate application and fee are required for each drilling category.

15. What does Environmental Health require for well drillers to drill in Sonoma County?

A copy of a current workers compensation certificate endorsed to Sonoma County, and a copy of a current C-57 license must be on file with Environmental Health or be submitted with the permit application.

16. How long is a permit valid?

The permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance. However, prior to the permit's expiration, an extension can be requested.

17. Do I need a new permit if I change drillers?

Yes. A new application and permit alteration fee is required.

18. How is an Environmental Assessment different from other permits?

If the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the City of Santa Rosa, or the Local Oversight Program does not direct the environmental investigation, the proposed work is classified as an Environmental Assessment.

19. Who issues permits for Geotechnical Borings?

Normally the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (PRMD) issues these permits. If, however, the borings combine an environmental investigation, or are being proposed in an area near known contamination, Environmental Health will issue those permits.

20. Can I destroy a well by pressure grouting?

The required method for destroying a well is over-drilling and tremie grouting. Should there be a health and safety risk to over-drilling, contact either the LOP case worker for the site or Environmental Drilling staff. Be prepared to provide documentation as to the health and safety risk.

21. Do I need a site address to obtain a drilling permit?

Yes. You must have a valid site address. If no specific site address is available, contact Leslye at Leslye.Choate@sonoma-county.org.

22. Are permits required for hand augered borings, monitoring wells or soil vapor wells?

Yes. All hand augered borings and wells require a permit signed by a C-57 licensed driller.

23. Do soil vapor wells require a permit?

Yes. All soil vapor wells require a permit.

24. Are destruction permits required for soil vapor wells?

Long term soil vapor wells are 30 days or greater and require a separate permit for destruction.

Short term soil vapor wells ( <30 days) do not require a separate destruction permit.

25. What are the requirements for destroying soil vapor wells?

Soil vapor wells constructed with rigid materials can be pressure grouted at destruction.

Soil vapor wells constructed with tubing must have the tubing removed and the hole filled with neat cement.

26. Is a permit required for the installation of a sub slab vapor pin?

No.

Contact Information

Public Health Division
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Address
Office Location
625 5th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
38.44178, -122.7158781

Report a Complaint, Hazard or Nuisance

Public Records Requests

Public Records Requests
Most Environmental Health records are available electronically and you may search our database via the Public Access Viewer.

 

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