Many residents of St. Joseph County obtain their drinking water from private wells. Water wells can also be used for irrigation, monitoring groundwater contamination and geothermal heating. To ensure wells are properly constructed and the quality of our groundwater is not impacted, a permit is required to install a well in St. Joseph County. Wells must also be installed by a well driller that is registered with the Health Department.

To apply for a permit, an application and permit fee must be submitted to the Health Department. An Environmental Health Specialist will review the application to ensure the proposed well location meets the required separation distances from septic systems, property lines and other potential pollution sources. On the same day the well is installed, an Environmental Health Specialist will conduct an onsite inspection to ensure the location of the new well is consistent with the application. The Environmental Health Specialist will also observe the well driller abandon the old well. Permits are valid for one year from the issue date.

After a new drinking water well has been installed, the well owner must have their water tested by a laboratory registered with the Health Department. Depending on the water test results, you may be required to chlorinate your water system or install a water treatment unit. If you have questions concerning your water test results or water quality, contact the Health Department at [email protected] or (574) 235-9721.

The Health Department will issue a well identification sticker when drilling records and satisfactory water test results are received. The sticker should be placed on the north side of the well casing to identify that the well is registered with St. Joseph County.

Well Abandonment

Water wells are a direct conduit to our groundwater. When an old water well is not in use, it must be properly abandoned in order to prevent any potential contaminants from entering the well and reaching our groundwater. County Code 52 requires any water well that has not been in use for over a year to be abandoned. A permit from the Health Department is required to abandon a well and the abandonment must be done by a well driller registered with Saint Joseph County.