Wells and Borings FAQ

Do I need to obtain a permit for drilling activities on UC property?

Yes, boring permits are required for University construction project drilling activities under certain conditions described below.   However, the University is only required to comply with permitting requirements authorized by the state Water Code, and activities covered by municipal ordinances that go beyond the authorization of the state statutes do not apply to the University.

You are required to obtain a permit from the authorizing city or county agency for the installation and destruction of the following :

  • Monitoring wells (used to measure the concentration in groundwater of chemical contaminants or other parameters).

  • Cathodic protection wells

  • Water supply wells

  • Other permanent or temporary wells (such as piezometers) and borings installed with the primary purpose of collecting groundwater on a contaminated site for analysis and for hydrologic information.

You do NOT need a permit for the following activities:

  • Construction site dewatering wells

  • Archeological borings

  • Geotechnical soil borings

  • Environmental soil borings

  • Other soil borings or excavation with the primary purpose of collecting information on soils

What is the intent of the permit requirements?

The intent of the requirements is to prevent unintentional impacts to groundwater from contaminants that may be introduced through improper construction or installation of soil borings, dewatering devices, probes, and investigative boreholes.

What information/documents must be submitted for a permit?

The authorizing agency requires the submittal of the following:

  • Monitoring Well and Soil Boring Permit Application

  • A scaled plan identifying the proposed drilling locations, property boundaries, streets, structures, pollution areas, and buried and overhead utility lines.

  • Fee

Who prepares submittals to the agency for a permit ?

You have one of two options:

  • Option #1:  The contractor may prepare and submit the required documents and fees to the authorizing agency.  Copies of submittal must be forwarded to EH&S.  However, you must always include EH&S involvement prior to any submission of environmental regulatory forms.  Permits must be issued to the University as the official property owner. Note! All permits must be filed identifying the University as the property owner.

  • Option #2:  EH&S can prepare the submittal.  EH&S submits the application to the authorizing agency and forwards copies to the contractor and Project Manager.

When must a permitted well or soil boring be closed?

Permitted wells and temporary borings must be closed according to conditions of the permit granted.

  • Some monitoring wells will be used long-term and will be permitted accordingly.

  • Inactive monitoring wells that are not used within a year’s time should be closed.

  • Soil borings and temporary wells should be closed upon completion of work and according to a registered engineer or geologist’s approved work plan.

What will be the cost of this permit for my project?

Fees vary by county. The fees for the City of Berkeley are typical and are as follows (as of April 2012):

  • Well:  $376 (plus $112 for each additional well)

  • Soil Boring:  $188 (plus $112 for each additional soil boring)

What is the timeline for the permit process?

The permit process takes approximately 2 weeks.

A general timeline of the process is as follows using the City of Berkeley by example:

Step # Action Timeframe 1 Capital Projects (CP) or EH&S submits the permit application (completed form, scaled plan and fee) to the City of Berkeley – Toxic Management Division (TMD). 3 days 2 City of Berkeley – Toxics Management Division (TMD) sends “Drilling Permit” to CP or EH&S. 7 days 3 Capital Projects (CP) alerts EH&S of the first scheduled day of drilling. 2 days 4 Call the City of Berkeley – Toxics Management Division (TMD) and schedule an inspection of the grout sealing of boreholes, probes, or wells. Notify TMD a minimum of two (2) working days in advance of first scheduled day of drilling. 5 Permit expires. 90 days from approval date


Are there any special requirements at the Richmond Field Station because it is under a DTSC Site Investigation and Remediation Order?

Yes. Due to the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control Order, there are additional requirements for contractors pertaining to health and safety plans, equipment decontamination, and waste collection. See the RFS Soil, Groundwater, and Geotechnical Borings Contractor Requirements for more information.


City of Berkeley ( Implementing agency: Toxics Management Division) Monitoring Well and Soil Boring Permit (Drilling Permit Application)