We are currently updating Bulletin 74. To participate, visit the "Current Effort to Update Bulletin 74" tab below.
A Brief Legislative History of the Well Standards
The Legislature has a long history of concern with groundwater impairment through improper construction or abandonment of wells. In 1949, it enacted Chapter 1552, Statutes of 1949, adding Water Code Section 231, which directed the Department of Public Works (now DWR) to:
…investigate and survey conditions of damage to quality of underground waters, which conditions are or may be caused by improperly constructed, abandoned or defective wells through the interconnection of strata or the introduction of surface waters into underground waters. The department shall report to the appropriate California regional water quality control board its recommendations for minimum standards of well construction in any particular locality in which it deems regulation necessary to protection of quality of underground water, and shall report to the Legislature from time to time, its recommendations for proper sealing of abandoned wells.
During the 1965 and 1967 General Sessions, the Legislature again reviewed the matter of standards for water well construction. As a result, it established a procedure for implementing standards by enacting Chapter 323, Statutes of 1967, which added Water Code Sections 13800 through 13806. The wording of these sections was amended in 1969 when the Legislature enacted the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (Chapter 482, Statutes of 1969). In Water Code Section 13800, DWR's reporting responsibility is enlarged upon.
Water Code Section 13801 was amended in 1986, detailing the current procedures for implementation and specifically including monitoring wells.
In 1996, the Legislature added Water Code Section 13800.5, requiring DWR to develop standards for geothermal heat exchange wells (GHEWs).
The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act added Water Code Section 10726.4, which reaffirms the established procedures and authority for well permitting.
We are currently in the process of updating Bulletin 74, California Well Standards, last updated in 1991. Upon completion of the updated Bulletin 74, DWR will submit it to the State Water Resources Control Board for adoption into a Statewide Model Well Ordinance.
We are committed to an open and transparent process that seeks participation and collaborative input from stakeholders and the public.
Attend a Webinar
Bulletin 74 Update Kick-Off Webinars. DWR is hosting two webinars to introduce the Bulletin 74 update project and to solicit input on existing standards. Register here.
- Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Webinar Link: https://csus.zoom.us/j/198499033)
- Tuesday, June 25, 2019 @ 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Webinar Link: https://csus.zoom.us/j/288745571)
To keep current on Bulletin 74 announcements and updates, join the Bulletin 74 distribution list by signing up here.
Please visit the Bulletin 74: California Well Standards Comment Portal to provide comment.
For other ways to comment, contact: Bulletin74@water.ca.gov.
- California Laws for Wells, October 2016
- Statewide Advisory: Sealing Materials for Water Wells, Monitoring Wells, Cathodic Protection Wells, and Geothermal Heat Exchange Wells, September 2015
- Bulletin 74-90, California Well Standards, June 1991
- Bulletin 74-81: Water Well Standards, December 1981
- Bulletins 74-90 and 74-81, Combined
- Geothermal Heat Exchange Wells
- Water Facts: California Well Standards Questions and Answers, June 1992
- Bulletin 74-2: Recommended Minimum Water Well Construction and Sealing Standards for the Protection of Ground Water Quality, Alameda County (Preliminary Edition, 1962)
- Bulletin 74-3: Water Well Standards, Del Norte County (1966)
- Bulletin 74-4: Water Well Standards, Central Hollywood, Santa Monica Basins, Los Angeles County (1974)
- Bulletin 74-5: Water Well Standards, San Joaquin County, Final Supplement (1969)
- Bulletin 74-5: Water Well Standards, San Joaquin County, Appendix E: Formation Testing, Preliminary Edition (1965)
- Bulletin 74-6: Water Well Standards, Fresno County (1968)
- Bulletin 74-7: Water Well Standards, Arroyo Grande Basin, San Luis Obispo County (1971)
- Bulletin 74-8: Water Well Standards, Shasta County (1968)
- Bulletin 74-9: Water Well Standards, Ventura County (1968)