Groundwater Protection Program
The Groundwater Protection Program protects and monitors groundwater quality and works towards restoration of groundwater that has been impacted by contaminants. The 7 member staff administers the following subprograms: Source Water Protection, Underground Injection Control, and the Western Ambient and Agricultural Ambient Groundwater Monitoring. The program has continuously monitored groundwater across the state since 1992.
Program Manager - 701.328.5213
Source Water Protection Program
The North Dakota Source Water Protection Program was developed in response to the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments that require all states to define and assess the source waters of public water systems. All public water systems that have wells or intakes are participants in the Source Water Protection Program. Three elements of the Source Water Protection Program are federally-mandated requirements and are completed by the Department of Health, while the remaining elements can be pursued voluntarily by the governing body of the public water system. The North Dakota Source Water Assessment Strategic Plan was approved by EPA in 1999.
Underground Injection Control Program
The Safe Drinking Water Act established the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program to provide safeguards so that injection wells do not endanger current and future underground sources of drinking water (USDW). The most accessible fresh water is stored in shallow geological formations called aquifers and is the most vulnerable to contamination. These aquifers feed our lakes; provide recharge to our streams and rivers, particularly during dry periods; and serve as resources for 92 percent of public water systems in the United States.
Water Well Construction
Construction of water wells and installation of pumps and pitless units is regulated under Water Well Construction Rules - NDAC 33-18-01.
Construction of monitoring wells is regulated under Groundwater Monitoring Well Construction Rules - NDAC 33-18-02.
Water Well Contractor Licensing
All drilling and construction of water wells or monitoring wells and installation of water well pumps or pitless units must be performed by a contractor certified by the North Dakota State Board of Water Well Contractors. This does not restrict someone from constructing a well for their own use on their own property.
The certified water well contractor, pump and pitless unit installer, or monitoring well contractor whose decal is on the primary equipment shall actually be in charge of its operation. A person is in charge only when the person has actual supervisory power over the work and makes onsite inspections of the work and progress.
Rules for certification of drilling contractors or pump installers are found in State Board of Water Well Contractors - NDAC 90-01 and 90-02.
The maintenance of a baseline description of groundwater quality is an essential element of any statewide comprehensive groundwater protection program. In recent years, concern for the quality of our environment and drinking water has increased as we learn that many states in the country have experienced groundwater contamination from a variety of point and nonpoint sources of pollution. In North Dakota, a large portion of the potable groundwater resource underlies agricultural areas. Prior to the inception of the Groundwater Monitoring Program in 1992, only limited data was available to assess the impact of agricultural chemicals on the state's groundwater quality. The goal of the Groundwater Monitoring Program is to provide an assessment of the quality of North Dakota's groundwater resources with regard to agricultural chemical contamination.