DPWES Letter to Industry

Land Development Services
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035
703-324-1780, TTY 711

March 15, 2007

Exemption of Water Well Drilling from County Code Chapter 104

Changes in the requirements for approval of a proposed private residential water well have necessitated that an applicant demonstrate a minimum well yield for that specific well in order to gain approval by the Department of Health and prior to obtaining a building permit.

Reviewed approval of a proposed lot grading plan depicting a private residential water well is required before the plan can be submitted to Plan and Document Control for review.  When the Department of Health determines that the proposed well meets the minimum location requirements, they will issue a well permit to allow the drilling of the well.  At the same time, they will indicate their approval for review on the grading plan, which will then allow submission of that plan to Plan and Document Control for review.  This review can occur concurrently with the drilling of the well.  The applicant may also submit their building permit application and associated architectural drawings to the Permit Application Center to initiate that building plan review process as well.  Once the well has been drilled and a yield determined, the driller must provide evidence of satisfactory well yield to the Department of Health.  The building permit cannot be issued prior to Health Department approval of the well yield.

It is this department’s determination that access to and drilling of the well by the exploratory and support equipment, as well as installation of the water service connections, is exempt from provisions of Chapter 104 – Erosion and Sedimentation Control, of the Code of the County of Fairfax. Therefore, once the Department of Health has reviewed and approved the proposed well site location and issued a well permit to access and drill the well, an approved grading plan and site permit will not be required by this department to access and drill the well.  This exemption applies only to the minimum disturbance necessary to access and drill the well and does not enable the contractor to begin development of the site.

It is important to note that provisions of other ordinances and restrictions may apply to the areas of a proposed well and access to the well site.  Specifically, a grading plan or other studies, reports or written permissions may be required if access to the well site involves disturbance of land areas which are regulated by other provisions of the law, such as Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas (Code of the County of Fairfax, Chapter 118), floodplains (Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance), wetlands as defined by the US Army Corps of Engineers, areas restricted by recorded conservation easements, proffered tree save areas, or other similar areas.

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