Wells & Public Water


The installation of a well requires approval by the Environmental Health Division and must be installed by a licensed well driller. Well permit applications are submitted on behalf of a property owner by the licensed driller, who will obtain the application directly from our office. This is the case for all wells, including new wells, replacement wells, farm wells, etc. 

The inspections that are required before, during, and after the drilling process are also coordinated with our office directly by the licensed well driller. 

A list of active/current licensed drillers is available from the Maryland State Board of Well Drillers and is provided by individual name and by company name

Please be aware that well permit applications take approximately 30 days to process from the time of submittal. If you are out of water and need an emergency approval, please have your licensed well driller contact our office right away.

Drinking Water Quality

Wells that will be used for drinking water must be tested for bacteria, turbidity, nitrates, and arsenic by a Maryland certified laboratory. Obtaining testing is the responsibility of the homeowner and the results must be sent to our office. Upon receipt of these water test results, we will review water results and inspect the well. Once all reports and tests are received by our office and are satisfactory, final approval is issued via the Certificate of Potability. This completes the permitting process. 

Location Requirements

When developing your site plan, be advised that there are certain requirements for the location of wells:

  • At least 30 feet from a current or future structures, such as home foundations, decks, pools, and sheds.
  • At least 50 to 100 feet from all existing and proposed sewage disposal systems/areas, depending on the type of well.
  • At least 100 feet from other sources of contamination (cemeteries, petroleum product storage, etc.).
  • At least 10 feet from property lines.
  • At least 15 feet from roads or dedicated rights-of-way.

Placement of your well should be carefully considered as the placement may impact your ability to develop the property in the future. Think ahead to other property improvements may wish, such as pools or additions. 

Abandonment of Wells

Abandonment of a well must be done by a licensed well driller.  There are several reasons to abandoned a well, including the well is no longer functional or needed, or is contaminated. If you have an existing well, Well Abandonment is a requirement for the approval of a replacement well.  Property owners may also be required to replace a well as part of a building permit if the existing well does not meet current construction standards, setbacks, or produces contaminated water.

Flooded Wells

Flood waters often carry hazardous and toxic materials, including raw sewage, animal wastes, oil, gasoline, solvents, and chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizer. Flood waters that enter a well can contaminate the groundwater and make the well water unsafe to drink or to use in your business. The effects may last long after the flood waters have receded.



Certain decisions by Caroline County environmental Health staff related to septic systems and sewage disposal may be appealed to the Maryland Department of the Environment. These include:

  • Sewage disposal (COMAR 26.04.02) 
  • Water supply and sewage systems in subdivisions (COMAR 26.04.03)
  • Well construction (COMAR 26.04.04)
  • Water supply, sewage disposal and solid waste (COMAR 26.04.05)

These decisions may be in regard to the grant, denial, renewal, suspension or amendment of a license, certificate, certification, permit or registration that is required by statute (Application).  The authority to make these decisions is based in Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and/or through Delegation Agreement(s) with other state agencies.

See the Complaints and Appeals section of our website for complete information on the appeals process.

Public Water

Most properties in the towns of Denton, Federalsburg, Greensboro, Preston, and Ridgely have public water supply. Towns with public water facilities must verify through the Environmental Health Division the adequacy of water supply before a building permit can be issued for new construction.

New construction, in towns with private well and/or sewer (including additions, decks, pools, sheds, etc.) require an Application for Water/Sewer Verification. Applications are available at the town office or on our website

Contact Information for Caroline County municipalities