Massachusetts State Regulations for Locating a Water Well

If you are building a home that requires a water well in Massachusetts, it’s a good idea to become familiar with state regulations regarding the location of wells. The placement of the well in relation to the home could influence the kind of well pump and other equipment needed to get water from the well into the home, especially if the well must be located a considerable distance away. Below we’ve provided an outline ofMassachusetts regulations for locating wells as a reference.


When looking for a suitable well location, first identify the property lines. Private water wells must be at least 10 feet from the edge of your property. Make sure the area is clear of other structures, as well. Buildings and other structure cannot be located less than five feet directly above the well.

Next, make sure the well is a minimum of 25 feet from the driving surface of a roadway, or a minimum of 15 from the edge of the road’s right-of-way, whichever is greater. We advise drilling a well at least 100 feet from the road right-of-way, but if that is not possible, Massachusetts has rules for marking wells within that 100-foot buffer that restrict the use of herbicides in those areas.

A private water well should also be at least 15 feet from a gas line or overhead electrical distribution line, and must be 25 feet from an electrical transmission line over 50 kV. If you have questions about the type of line near your property and the setbacks required, call your electricity supplier.


Building a home near a lake, pond or wetland area comes with its set of rules and regulations. In Massachusetts, all use of land within 100 feet of a wetland or a 100-year floodplain is regulated under the state’s wetland protection laws. Private water wells must be at least 25 feet from the high water mark of all lakes, streams, rivers, ponds, ditches and sloughs. If your land is within a floodplain, the well should be constructed at least 100 feet from the edge of the floodplain. However, if that is not possible there, special precautions homeowners can take to protect the water supply in the event of flooding. Talk to your well drilling company if this is a concern.


Massachusetts Environmental Code Title 5 regulates the disposal of sewage, including where wells can be located about sewer or septic systems. Apparently, homeowners want to protect their wells from potential bacterial contamination from sewage. This regulation requires wells must be at least 50 feet from a septic tank, 100 feet from a leaching field, and 100 feet from a privy. The well must also be at least 10 feet from a building sewer or line that is made of corrosive-resistant material and 50 from a building sewer or line that is not made of corrosive resistant material.


Massachusetts regulation does mention other contamination sources of water wells, but these are included as guidelines, not hard and fast rules. We recommend that they are followed whenever possible, but exceptions can be made in certain cases if necessary. In general, wells should be placed uphill from any nearby source of contamination and homeowners should continue to test and monitor their water periodically.