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Private Well Installation


The regulation of well drilling contractors and the state oversight of well installations are changing in order to implement the requirements specified in revisions to state law adopted in June 2013. As of January 1, 2013, the RIDEM will no longer register well drilling or pump installation contractors. Pursuant to the law, contractors performing such work should register with the Rhode Island Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board.

The following summarizes the major changes that will be occurring in state programs involved with well drilling. The changes were in part aimed at streamlining the oversight of well drilling by reducing overlapping responsibilities among several state agencies.

Registration of Well Drilling Contractors:

Effective January 1, 2013, DEM will no longer register well drilling contractors. Existing registrations will expire at the end of 2012. DEM will not be sending annual renewal notices to existing registered contractors.

As part of the transition, the new state law requires that well drilling contractors be licensed by the Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board ("CRLB") which is a part of the Rhode Island Department of Administration. All currently registered well drilling or pump installation contractors who have not yet registered with the CRLB must do so by January 1, 2013 in order to continue to conduct business in 2013. CRLB registration instructions and forms are available at:

Licensing of Well Drilling Contractors:
The revised law further authorizes the CRLB to develop a licensing procedure for well drilling contractors by January 1, 2014. Once established, the licensing program will involve specifying requirements such as minimum qualifications and continuing education requirements.

Well Drilling Regulations:
The revised law directs the Rhode Island Building Code Standards Committee ("BCSC") to establish well drilling construction standards by incorporating the requirements into the appropriate sections of the state building codes. Requirements for drinking water wells installed on most non-residential properties are already reflected in the RI state plumbing code. The law directs the BCSC to integrate requirements to cover all residential housing by December 31, 2013. The current RI DEM Well Drilling Regulations will remain in place until they are superseded by the formal adoption of the new BCSC regulations.

Well Location Variances:
Questions on a well variance should be directed to Tom Angelone at 401-222-4700 ext. 7607 or More information on changes to the variance procedure will be forthcoming in 2014.

Well Installation Reports:
State law was modified to name the Rhode Island Department of Health as the lead agency for receiving well installation completion reports effective January 1, 2013. Well drilling contractors should continue to use the existing RI well completion report form until further notice.

For more information contact:
Tom Angelone (