Per the Department of Public Health Drinking Water Program, a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit is mandatory for most environmental, geotechnical and hydro-geological projects in LA County. As of August 2018, the County of LA enforces a new set of stricter well permit guidelines. The new standards require oversight for soil sampling boreholes deeper than 10 feet. Additionally, permits are necessary for any borehole that encounters groundwater. Lastly, a C-57 Licensed Driller is mandatory for this process. There are various drilling service categories under the purview of a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit. And various forms of supporting documents are essential to the application process. Updated December 10, 2018.
Most Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment and remediation projects will require a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit. However, a Well Permit and Drilling Permit are not necessary for soil gas probe boreholes without soil sampling. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency exempts the requirement of a drilling permit for Superfund CERCLA sites. Although, to qualify for this exemption, there may be additional forms to provide Los Angeles County.
Some cities within Los Angeles County, such as the City of Pasadena, Long Beach, Vernon and more, have their own Health Departments which require Well Permits and Drilling Permits. In such a case, other permits may be required in addition to the Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit.
Environmental Site Assessments and geological investigations within Los Angeles County boundaries are subject to a variety of permits, depending upon the nature of the sampling. Notably, for locations within the unincorporated County limits, and within certain city jurisdictions, the Department of Public Health (LADPH) requires an approved Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit to advance soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells. Additionally, permit fees apply for each sampling event from existing groundwater monitoring wells may apply.
Typically, environmental soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells assist in researching contamination conditions and concentrations at specific locations. For example, subsurface investigations help to identify the source of an environmental release. Furthermore, deep soil borings aim to define the width and depth of a plume. Moreover, exploratory boreholes identify a site’s geology and soil characteristics. Groundwater monitoring wells are devices which aid in identifying hydro-geologic and environmental conditions, as well as the the lateral and vertical extent of aquifer contamination. Using this information, geologists can also define contamination migration pathways. Groundwater monitoring wells are also usable for remediation purposes.
A Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit is also necessary for “Exploration Hole” purposes. Typically, these boreholes explore subsurface and hydro-geological conditions at a property. For instance, any soil sampling boring, hydropunch boring and Cone Penetrometer Test (CPT) will require oversight. Furthermore, any soil sampling boreholes with depths exceeding 10 feet into the vadose zone, and any borehole or CPT encountering groundwater will require oversight by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH).
Prior to commencing work, consultants must submit a work plan and well permit application to the Drinking Water Program within the LADPH. The investigative work may only commence after the County’s approval of the well permit and drilling permit.
The vadose zone is a area represented by dry soil, above the groundwater table. Generally, soil gas probe boreholes only (within the vadose zone) do not require an LADPH Well Permit and Drilling Permit. In fact, if a CPT or soil boring does not extend beyond 10 feet below grade, it will also be exempt from a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit.
However, if any probe or borings extends into a groundwater zone during installation, a permit will become necessary. Similarly, if an investigation involves the installation of a groundwater monitoring well, groundwater production well, piezometer, injection well, extraction well, sparge well, CPT boreole into groundwater, or a HydroPunch temporary well, a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit is mandatory. As with the soil boring permits, applicants must provide a comprehensive work plan and application to the Drinking Water Program. And the package must disclose the professional C57 contractors and geologists overseeing the job.
Although groundwater depths are variable in Los Angeles County, some areas have water tables shallower than 10 feet. In fact, some beach areas have reported first-encountered groundwater as shallow as 2 feet below grade. For instance, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Long Beach area are generally known to have shallow groundwater. As as result, a well permit and drilling permit will be required, even for boreholes less than 10 feet.
Additional well service categories that require a permit from the LADPH include irrigation, production and geothermal heat exchange wells. And the Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit application also includes services such as well decommissioning, rehabilitation and renovation of existing wells. Moreover, some procedures to service existing water supply wells are likely to require oversight. For example, yield evaluations, yield enhancement procedures, performance tests, in situ water treatment and more.
In the same way, permit approval may be required for periodic sampling of commercial food service facility water, for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification.
The LADPH turnaround time for processing these permits is approximately 10 business days. The processing time commences upon receipt of the application and payment of fees. And work plan modifications or design amendments might be mandatory to achieve approval by the LADPH.
Properties undergoing soil or groundwater assessment within Los Angeles County are more than likely in need of a Well Permit and Drilling Permit, as well as a work plan prepared by a Professional Geologist. Contact Geo Forward for more information, or to determine if your project requires a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit.