FAQs – Attached Properties, Private Well Requirements

Private Well Requirements

Town of Blooming Grove (Northern Phase) – Attached to the City of Madison, December 28, 2015
Q1.  How will I be notified of upcoming water related requirements?
An official notice will be mailed to you shortly after the scheduled attachment date.  The notice will outline the requirements and corresponding due dates specific to your property.
Q2.  What is the most important thing I need to know?
All private wells located in the City of Madison require a well operation permit which can be obtained from Madison Water Utility.
Q3.  Can I keep my private well?
Yes, private domestic wells are permissible in the City of Madison; however, MGO 13.21 requires that a well operation permit must be obtained from Madison Water Utility.  The following criteria must be satisfied before a well operation permit can be issued:
  1. The well and pump installation must satisfy the requirements of Chapter NR 812 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.
  2. The well must produce bacteriologically safe water; that is, the water must be free of coliform bacteria including E. coli.
  3. The well must not be cross-connected to the municipal water system.
Permits are valid for 5 years and are renewable. Permit applications must include the $355 fee which covers the cost of a state mandated inspection and required water quality tests.  The property owner is required to submit annual test results for total coliform and nitrate by October 1st of each year the permit is valid.  Well permits are non-transferable; new owners must obtain a permit in their name. Additional information may be found in MGO 13.21 and on our Private Wells web page.
Q4.  What do I do after I connect to municipal water?
Once your property is connected to municipal water, the well must be properly abandoned according to the requirements of Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter NR 812.  The abandonment must be completed by a licensed well driller or pump installer.  
Q5. What is meant by the term well abandonment?
The proper abandonment of a private well involves more than no longer using the well or simply covering the well casing (metal pipe) and ignoring it. Technically, the term well abandonment refers to the filling and sealing of a well with an approved, impermeable material such as bentonite chips, concrete, or neat cement.                                                                         
Q6. What are the requirements for the proper abandonment of a well?
As of June 1, 2008, only licensed well drillers and pump installers can fill and seal wells under Wisconsin law.  These licensed professionals must follow the regulations codified in Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter NR 812.  In addition, Madison Water Utility staff must be on site for any well abandonment performed in the City of Madison. The utility maintains a courtesy list of local contractors qualified to perform this work.
Q7. What does it cost to properly abandon a private well?
The cost of a well abandonment depends on a number of factors; the primary ones being the depth of the well and whether the pump is present and needs to be pulled.  A “typical” abandonment costs $800 - $1500 but may be more or less depending on the well depth; ease with which the pump can be removed; and the private contractors rates.  Well drillers typically charge by the foot so deeper wells are more expensive to abandon than shallow wells.
Q8. Is any financial assistance available to help pay for the well abandonment?
The City of Madison may reimburse a property owner up to 50% of the cost, up to $1000, to abandon a well.  Details are available on our Private Wells web page or by contacting Madison Water Utility at (608) 266-4654.
Financial assistance may also be available through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  The DNR offers a limited number of income -based grants to help offset the cost to abandon an unused private wells.
Was this page helpful to you?