- Report Published -
|The Merits of Creating A Specialty Classification for Water Well Drillers|
|Board of Commerce|
|HR 5 (1990)|
|A. Study Overview|
This study was initiated with the passage of House Resolution 5 requesting the Board of Commerce and the Board for Contractors to study the merits of creating a specialty classification for water well drillers through the Board for Contractors.
The Board of Commerce, through research, two public hearings, surveys to involved parties, and the receipt of written comments, reviewed the nature of this occupation and the effect, if any, on public health, safety, and welfare from the current practices.
The Board of Commerce, in cooperation with the Board for Contractors, based its recommendations on an extensive analysis and discussion of this information.
B. Key findings
1. There is growing concern about the quality of Virginia's groundwater and the role of water well drillers in protecting the Commonwealth's water supply.
2. Current statute requires a Class B Contractors license for water well drillers which is a registration process with no assurance of competence.
3. Local health department sanitarians have the responsibility for inspecting water wells. Unfortunately, the constraints on the sanitarians' time and often their lack of expertise to evaluate the quality of well installation, result in many water well drillers who are virtually unsupervised.
4. An improperly drilled water well can result in contaminated water for entire aquifers, as well as for the person for whom the well is being drilled.
5. Some practicing water well drillers could be forced out of business by a licensing program which requires successful completion of an examination.
1. The practice of this occupation can potentially harm or endanger the health, safety and welfare of the public.
2. The public is entitled to the assurance that a minimum level of knowledge and proficiency have been demonstrated by practicing water well drillers.
3. The Board feels that the four-year grandfathering window for education will insure that the numbers and availability of competent water well drillers will not be adversely affected in rural areas.
4. The local health departments should be granted additional personnel properly trained to inspect water well installations.
1. The Board of Commerce concludes that the Board of Contractors, under existing legislation and regulations, has the authority to create a specialty licensing category for water well drillers. Accordingly, the board of Commerce recommends that the Board for Contractors add water well drillers as a specialty category for licensing purposes beginning July 1, 1991, and that such category include proof of competency through completion of an examination. Such regulatory category should provide for grandfathering, without examination, all license, all licensed water well driver contractors who complete within four years education requirements to be determined by the Board for Contractors. Any licensee who has been the subject of disciplinary action by the board for Contractors within the previous five years, however, could be required to complete the examination.
2. The Board of Commerce recommends that the Board for Contractors consider a requirement that a bond in the minimum amount of $5,000 be mandated for all licensed water well drillers, including grandfathered licensees, as a additional future protection to the public against wells found to have been improperly installed.
3. The Board of Commerce furthered recommends that the local health departments be augmented with additional sanitarians to assist in the inspection of water well installations.