Things to Consider When Installing a Well in Massachusetts

Wells for drinking water are regulated to some degree in every state. In Massachusetts, wells are regulated by your local Board of Health. There are a few state laws overseeing some aspects of well drilling, as well. Most importantly, Massachusetts law requires all wells must be drilled or dug by a Registered Well Driller. Skillings & Sons is certified to drill wells in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and has more than 250 years of experience in the field. Here we outline some of the important information you will need to know before moving forward with any well drilling project in Massachusetts.


Wells draw from groundwater, either just below the surface or from bedrock more than 100 feet underground. The well should be drilled into a soil or bedrock formation that will produce enough water to operate under normal conditions without affecting surrounding wells. Your well drilling contractor can discuss the geology surrounding your property and what kind of well will work best for your needs.


Before a well site is selected, there should be a review of possible contamination sources within 200 feet of the site. Whenever possible the well should be drilled uphill from potential sources of contamination. Also, consider possible contamination sources within the general vicinity of your home, such as large-scale farms, manufacturing plants or fuel storage facilities.


Private water wells should be located at least 10 feet from all property lines. The center line of the well, if extended vertically from the ground, should clear anything that extends from a nearby structure by at least five feet.

Be aware of nearby gas and electrical lines. Dig Safe should always be called before a well drilling project begins. Wells should be a minimum of 15 feet from a gas line or overhead electrical line. If the electrical line is in excess of 50 kV, the well should be at least 25 feet from the line.

All private water supply wells should be located at a minimum of 25 feet from any roadway or at least 15 feet from the road right-of-way, whichever is greater. Rights-of-Way Management regulations require wells within one hundred feet of any right-of-way be marked. Private drinking water supplies that are marked and recorded in accordance with these regulations are protected and the use of herbicides for maintaining rights-of-way is restricted in these areas.


If you live near a river or lake, there is a potential for flooding that could affect a drinking water well if not properly sited. Private water supply wells should be located at least 25 feet from the normal high-water mark of any lake, pond, river, stream, ditch, or slough.

Well construction is also subject to Wetlands Protection regulations. If a well is sited within 100 feet of a wetland or within the 100-year floodplain of a river or stream, approval must first be obtained by the local Conservation Commission. Wherever possible, wells should not be sited in areas prone to flooding and should be above the 100-year flood plain.


Local Boards of Health set the standards and parameters by which water quality is tested in their communities. These standards can be more stringent than Environmental Protection Agency orMassachusetts Department of Environmental Protection standards, so it is important to check with your local office. Tests for volatile organic compounds and synthetic organic compounds may also be required in areas where contamination is known or suspected.

Skillings & Sons can advise you on what well tests should be done and can provide well testing kits. Once the samples are taken, you can return them to Skillings & Sons and one of our representatives will bring it to a certified lab. We will then review the results with you. Contact us today.