"Recently, a drill crew had dry-augered a hole 28 inches into the topsoil (beach sand), and was driving a pit casing (pit tee) with a sledgehammer while a state regulator was observing ..."
a drill crew had dry-augered a hole 28 inches into the topsoil (beach sand),
and was driving a pit casing (pit tee) with a sledgehammer while a state
regulator was observing. The drill crew was preparing to drill, but had not
started any drilling because I – the licensed driller for the job – had not yet
arrived at the drill site. In a previous conversation, as the licensed driller,
I had invited the state regulator to observe the drilling and grouting of a
geothermal closed loop.
The regulator called my cellular phone to notify me that the crew wasn’t in
compliance because they were drilling without a licensed driller present. I
advised the regulator to be assured that no drilling would proceed until I
arrived. When I did arrive at the site, the regulator was not there.
Upon the regulator’s return, I again informed him that no drilling had started until
I, the licensed driller, had arrived. He still advised the drill operator that
because he was driving a pipe in the ground, he considered it drilling, and as
much as he didn’t want to, he would have to write up the drill operator for
drilling without a drilling license.
After asking the drill operator for his driver’s license to get his pertinent
information, the regulator told the operator that he would be reporting this
incident to the state licensing board, which would be contacting both the drill
operator and his employer.
Note: If this is enforced, anyone installing a fence post, a clothes’ line
pole, a flagpole or any kind of hole in the ground may be required to have a
state water well driller’s license.
It has been my experience that most state regulators have no idea what the
procedure is for drilling a well, installing a well or geothermal loop, or even
grouting a well. What’s even more important, they don’t seem to care, nor do
they have any interest in learning. They interpret the regulations their own
way, and just are interested in finding people whom they deem aren’t in
compliance. There’s no real interest in protecting our natural
This regulator wrote up the drill operator, watched the operator mix the
drilling mud and run two drill joints in the ground, then advised me that he
had other places to be and that he probably wouldn’t return to watch the
grouting of the geothermal loop. What? Observing the grouting procedure should
have been the most important part on which he should have focused. There ought
to be a new job opening for a qualified regulator, but it probably will never
happen if he can continue to fine people for what he considers a
I’m not against regulators; we need qualified regulators to police our
industry. However, all state regulators who are over-policing drillers and pump
installers should be required to pass the most basic drilling and pump
examinations issued by their respective states – or better yet, by the National
Ground Water Association. Most regulators don’t have a concept of the drilling
procedures, and couldn’t pass a professional drilling or pump installer’s
Don’t misunderstand me: I know a few regulators who are quite qualified, but I
can count them on one hand. There is one outstanding regulator whom I know
personally who is master ground water-certified (MGWC). For those who aren’t
aware, the MGWC designation is the highest certification a person can obtain to
show his or her expertise in this industry. This certification is issued by the
National Ground Water Association after the applicant passes many written
It is said, “The pen is mightier than the sword” – but in my opinion, only if
the pen is very sharp, and the sword is very dull. I think there is a very dull
sword involved here.
Keep reading my stories, as I’m sure I’ll be writing more on the outcome of
Porky's Hole Thoughts: Regulators - the Well Police
February 1, 2010