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Water Well Use

monitoring well pipeTo ensure that local groundwater resources designated for beneficial uses will not be polluted, the City and County of San Francisco established soil boring and well regulations. These regulations, found in Article 12B of the San Francisco Health Code, define minimum requirements for (1) construction, modification, and destruction of wells and other perforations of the water table; and (2) operation of such wells.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has the primary role of enforcing the requirements of Article 12B. However the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is responsible for reviewing and granting authorization for any withdrawal of groundwater within San Francisco. It also ensures that groundwater withdrawn by the permittee does not endanger the health and safety of the people of San Francisco, and/or adversely impact the ability of the City to make beneficial use of groundwater where economically feasible.

Water Well Use At a Glance

To ensure that local groundwater resources designated for beneficial uses will not be polluted or contaminated.

Who Must Comply?
Owner of a well that will be used for withdrawing groundwater.

Municipal Code
Health Code, Article 12B

Effective Date
June 10, 2005

Groundwater Program

Do the requirements apply to me?

If water will be pumped or otherwise withdrawn from a new or existing well that you own or is on your property, then the requirements of Article 12B apply to you.

How do I comply?

The well must be installed, operated, and maintained in accordance with Article 12B. To ensure that the requirements are met, the installation and use of a new or existing water well must be approved by three City departments.

Please follow the below steps:


Please complete the Environmental Evaluation Application, and submit it to the Planning Dept.


Please contact Christopher Lyles to obtain the SFPUC private well application at .



For the construction of new wells, please submit one of the following applications to the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH):

In addition, to operate a new or existing well, applicants must also complete the SFDPH Application for Permit to Operate a Well

Finally, applicants to SFDPH must submit a one-time non-refundable fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the SF Department of Public Health.

For more information on SFDPH's approval process and for contact info, please see SFDPH's Water Quality: Well Program web page.   

Need help?

If you have questions or need additional assistance, contact the SFPUC Groundwater Program at .



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Last updated: 11/3/2020 11:06:40 AM