Frequently Asked Questions

House Bill 930 - NEW!

General Questions

Licensing and Registration:

Fees

Renewals

Continuing Education

Enforcement

Communication

Abandoned or Deteriorated Wells


House Bill 930 - NEW!

House Bill 930 (HB 930), passed during the 84th Legislative Session, affects the Water Well Driller and Pump Installer programs regulated through Chapters 1901 and 1902, Occupations Code. The changes to these statutes became effective on September 1, 2015. The most substantial change made by HB 930 is that it formally authorizes the Commission to establish an Apprentice Driller and Installer program by rule. In addition, the bill amended the law to allow drillers to submit well logs electronically to the required agencies. Throughout the summer and fall, TDLR will be in the process of implementing these changes into its rules, forms, enforcement process and frequently asked questions. Any proposed rule changes will be discussed with the Advisory Council and published for public comment.

  1. What is a Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice?
  2. What are the requirements to become a Registered Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice?
  3. How do I become a Registered Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice?
  4. When will TDLR begin accepting applications for the Apprentice Program?
  5. Will previously registered apprentices receive the same license number?

1. What is a Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice?

An apprentice is an individual registered by TDLR to act or offer to act as a driller or installer under the supervision of a licensed driller/pump installer, and pursuant to a TDLR-approved Water Well Driller/Pump Installer training program.

2. What are the requirements to become a Registered Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice?

You have to be under the supervision of a licensed Well Driller /Pump Installer who has held his/her license for a minimum of 2 years; and be at least 18 years of age.

3. How do I become a Registered Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice?

Submit a completed application on a department approved form with an Experience Verification Form, a detailed copy of the training program and pay the required fee.

4. When will TDLR begin accepting applications for the Apprentice Program?

TDLR will begin accepting applications May 2, 2016. To receive the most up to date information, sign up for email updates.

5. Will previously registered apprentices receive the same license number?

Yes, the same number will be issued for previously registered apprentices.


General Questions

  1. Does the TDLR regulate public water supply (PWS) wells?
  2. Who is responsible for plugging an abandoned and/or deteriorated water well?
  3. Where do I send a plugging report?
  4. Who can plug an existing water well?
  5. How do I obtain grid maps?
  6. What is the required separation distance between a water well and septic systems?
  7. How close to property lines can a water well be placed?
  8. Can a person assist with water well drilling or pump installing?
  9. How many people can assist with water well drilling or pump installing?

1. Does the TDLR regulate public water supply (PWS) wells?

No. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Plan Review Section regulates the well construction specifications. Their phone number is (512) 239-4691. The Department of Licensing and Regulation regulates the licensed water well driller who drills Public Water Supply wells and the licensed water well pump installer who installs the pump.

2. Who is responsible for plugging an abandoned and/or deteriorated water well?

The landowner is responsible for plugging an abandoned and/or deteriorated water well.

3. Where do I send a plugging report?

Mail it to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at PO Box 12157, Austin, TX 78711 or submit it online via the State of Texas Well Report Submission and Retrieval System.

4. Who can plug an existing water well?

A licensed well driller and/or licensed pump installer or the landowners themselves can plug an existing water well.

5. How do I obtain grid maps?

The Texas Natural Resource Information Services (TNRIS) maintains grid maps. The TNRIS phone number is (512) 463-8773.

6. What is the required separation distance between a water well and septic systems?

The required separation distance between a water well and septic systems is 50 feet from a septic tank and 100 feet from drain fields or spray areas with minimum well construction specifications met.

7. How close to property lines can a water well be placed?

A water well can be placed 50 feet from property lines, with minimum well construction requirements met or up to 5 feet from property lines if the annular space is 3-inches larger than the outside diameter of the casing and pressure cemented or grouted from 100 feet back to the surface or from the top of the water production zone, whichever is shallower.

8. Can a person assist with water well drilling or pump installing?

Yes, a person can assist with water well drilling or pump installing under the direct supervision of a licensed water well driller or pump installer.

9. How many people can assist with water well drilling or pump installing?

A licensed water well driller or pump installer may directly supervise no more than three assistants at any time.


Licensing and Registration

Well Driller/Pump Installer License

  1. What are the requirements to get licensed as a well driller and/or pump installer?
  2. How do I know if I meet the requirements to take the water well driller and/or pump installer exam?
  3. When is the next exam?
  4. Do you provide study material?
  5. How often can examination(s) be taken?
  6. How do I retake or reschedule examination(s)?
  7. What are the fees for the Water Well Driller and/or Pump Installer exams which are being administered by PSI?
  8. How much does it cost to renew my license?
  9. How do I renew my expired license?
  10. How far back do I go on this renewal for my well reports?
  11. How do I change my address?
  12. What permits are required to drill a water well?
  13. Is this person licensed?
  14. How many unlicensed assistants can work under the supervision of a licensed well driller or pump installer?

1. What are the requirements to get licensed as a well driller and/or pump installer?

Submit an application, pay the application fee, meet experience qualifications and pass the required examination(s).

The application and all necessary forms are available on our Forms page or by calling (800) 803-9202 (Texas only), or (512) 463-6599.

2. How do I know if I meet the requirements to take the water well driller and/or pump installer exam?

Applicants must have a minimum of 2 years of experience under the supervision of a licensed Well Driller/Pump Installer.

For Water Well Drillers:

  • Water Wells (W) - must have at least 15 qualifying installations
  • Monitor Wells (M) - must have at least 50 qualifying installations
  • Injection Wells (N) - must have at least 50 qualifying installations
  • Dewatering Wells (D) - must have at least 50 qualifying installations
  • Closed Loop Geothermal Wells (C) - must have at least 50 qualifying installations
  • MASTER LICENSE (I) - must have at least 215 qualifying installations

NOTE: The General Exam must be passed before any license or endorsement may be issued.

For Pump Installers:

  • Single Phase Pumps (P) - must have at least 15 qualifying installations
  • 3 Phase Pumps (K) - must have at least 15 qualifying installations
  • Turbine Pump (T) - must have at least 15 qualifying installations
  • Windmill, Pump jack, hand pump - must have at least 15 qualifying installations
  • MASTER LICENSE (I ) - must have at least 60 qualifying installations

NOTE: The General Exam must be passed before any license or endorsement may be issued.

The application and all necessary forms are available on on our Forms page or by calling (800) 803-9202 (Texas only), or (512) 463-6599.

3. When is the next exam?

Examinations are available at Psychological Services Inc. (PSI) locations throughout Texas. Testing center locations are available in the Candidate Information Bulletin. Once exam qualifications are met, you will receive a scheduling notice with a contact number to schedule your examination.

4. Do you provide study material?

Available study materials include the WWD/PI statutes, rules, construction specifications, and references. Well Driller and pump installer exam information and references are available on our website or by calling (800) 803-9202 (toll free in Texas only), or (512) 463-6599.

5. How often can examination(s) be taken?

You may take the exam as often as necessary within one year from the time you file your application.

6. How do I retake or reschedule examination(s)?

To reschedule an examination appointment without forfeiting your fee, your cancellation notice must be  received 2 days before the scheduled examination date. For example, for a Monday appointment, the cancellation notice would need to be received on the previous Saturday. You may call PSI at (800) 733-9267. Please note that you may also use the automated system, using a touch-tone phone, 24 hours a day in order to cancel and reschedule your appointment.

Information on testing and how applicants may schedule an exam at PSI may be found in the Candidate Information Bulletins (CIB).

7. What are the fees for the Water Well Driller and/or Pump Installer exams which are being administered by PSI?

Exam fees and information about taking examinations at PSI is located in the Candidate Information Bulletins (CIB).   This document is vital to your understanding of the examination process.

8. How much does it cost to renew my license?

  • Water Well Driller - Renewed on time, $215.00; 1-90 days late, $322.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $430.00
  • Pump Installer - Renewed on time, $215.00; 1-90 days late, $322.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $430.00
  • Combination Driller / Installer - Renewed on time, $325.00; 1-90 days late, $487.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $650.00

NOTE: All fees submitted are non-refundable.

9.   How do I renew my expired license?

If your renewal application is postmarked before your expiration date, it is considered a timely renewal.

You may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions, for operating with an expired license (expired less than 18 months) or operating without a registration (expired 18 months or more).

If your license has been expired for more than 18 months but less than three years, you may submit a “Request to Executive Director for Expired License Renewal” form with the required renewal fee.

If your license has been expired for more than three years you may not renew your license. You must apply for a new license.

10. How far back do I go on this renewal for my well reports?

You are required to submit the number of well reports for wells that you drilled during the previous year since your last license renewal.

11. How do I change my address?

You can update your mailing address online or in writing by mail, fax, or email. Be sure to specify that this is a change of address. Include your name, license number, new mailing address and old mailing address. Current law requires that licensees notify the agency of all changes of address within 10 days of the effective date of the move.

12. What permits are required to drill a water well?

No permits are required at the state level; however permits or well registrations may be required by local ordinances or groundwater conservation districts.

13. Is this person licensed?

To determine if a person is licensed, you may search the Licensing Database or contact the Customer Service Division at (800) 803-9202 (Texas only) or (512) 469-6599.

14. How many unlicensed assistants can work under the supervision of a licensed well driller or pump installer?

A licensed driller or pump installer may not supervise more than three unlicensed assistants at any one time. Persons with both a well driller and a pump installer license may register a maximum of six unlicensed assistants (three of each type) at any one time.

Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice Registration

  1. Who must be Registered?
  2. What are the types of Apprentice Registrations?
  3. What are the requirements for an apprentice Registration?

1. Who must be Registered?

Anyone who performs well drilling/pump installation work in the state of Texas must be licensed.

Well drilling/pump installation work is defined as:  Any labor drilling or material used in the drilling or installation of pumps located on property or premises.

2. What are the types of Apprentice Registrations?

  • Well Driller Apprentice
  • Pump Installer Apprentice
  • Well Driller/Pump Installer Combination

3. What are the requirements for an apprentice Registration?

You must submit an application, any required supporting documentation, and pay the required fees for each type of registration you need. In addition you must meet the following requirements:  Be at least 18 years old, and be under the supervision of a Licensed Well Driller/Pump Installer that has held their License a minimum of 2 years


Fees

The fees for Original License/Registration Applications are:

  • Well Driller License - $215.00
  • Pump Installer License - $215.00
  • Well Driller/Pump Installer Combination License - $325.00
  • Well Driller Apprentice Registration - $65.00
  • Pump Installer Apprentice Registration - $65.00
  • Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice Combination Registration - $115.00

Renewals

  1. How much does it cost to renew my license?
  2. What are the requirements to renew my Well Driller/Pump Installer license?
  3. What are the requirements to renew my Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice Registration?
  4. Should I wait to submit my license renewal application until after I have completed my four hours of continuing education?

1. How much does it cost to renew my license?

  • Water Well Driller - Renewed on time, $215.00; 1-90 days late, $322.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $430.00
  • Pump Installer - Renewed on time, $215.00; 1-90 days late, $322.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $430.00
  • Combination Driller / Installer - Renewed on time, $325.00; 1-90 days late, $487.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $650.00
  • Water Well Driller Apprentice - Renewed on time, $65.00; 1-90 days late, $97.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $130.00
  • Pump Installer Apprentice - Renewed on time, $65.00; 1-90 days late, $97.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $130.00
  • Combination Driller / Installer Apprentice - Renewed on time, $115.00; 1-90 days late, $172.50; 91 days - 18 months late, $2300.00

NOTE: All fees submitted are non-refundable.

2. What are the requirements to renew my Well Driller/Pump Installer license?

Each water well driller and/or pump installer is required to complete four hours of continuing education to renew his/her license, including one hour in Texas law and rules.

Continuing education hours must be completed within the period of the license. (Example: if the license is effective from May 1, 2006 to May 1, 2007, the hours must be completed during that period only. A course taken in April 2006 is not within the license period, and will not count for the required continuing education hours.)

3. What are the requirements to renew my Well Driller/Pump Installer Apprentice Registration?

Each well driller/pump installer Registered Apprentice will be required to complete one hour of continuing education to renew his/her license.

Continuing education hours must be completed within the period of the license. (Example: if the license is effective from May 1, 2006 to May 1, 2007, the hours must be completed during that period only. A course taken in April 2006 is not within the license period, and will not count for the required continuing education hours.)

4. Should I wait to submit my license renewal application until after I have completed my four hours of continuing education?

No. You may file your renewal application at any time during your renewal period. We encourage you to file the application early so your license won’t expire and you won’t have to pay late renewal fees.


Continuing Education

  1. Should I wait to submit my license renewal application until after I have completed my four hours of continuing education?
  2. Where can I locate continuing education (CE) provider and course information?
  3. What is the actual amount of instruction time required for one hour of continuing education?
  4. There are no continuing education classroom courses in my area. Are other course delivery methods available?
  5. Who notifies TDLR that I have completed a required continuing education course?
  6. How will I be notified that I have completed a required continuing education course?
  7. Can I get partial credit for completing part of a required continuing education course?
  8. Will I be monitored if I take a distance learning continuing education course (for example: online)?
  9. Will I be able to go to TDLR’s web site and look up my completed continuing education hours?
  10. What can I do if my completed continuing education hours are not posted on the TDLR web site?
  11. What should I do if I don’t receive a certificate for my completed continuing education course?
  12. If I am a licensee and an instructor for an approved continuing education course, can I get my continuing education hours while teaching that course?
  13. Will college course hours count towards continuing education for license renewal?
  14. How long must I keep a copy of my continuing education certificate of completion?

1. Should I wait to submit my license renewal application until after I have completed my four hours of continuing education?

No. You may file your renewal application at any time during your renewal period. We encourage you to file the application early so your license won’t expire and you won’t have to pay late renewal fees.

2. Where can I locate continuing education (CE) provider and course information?

You can find CE provider and course information on TDLR’s web site. This list is updated as new providers are registered and courses are approved.

3. What is the actual amount of instruction time required for one hour of continuing education?

One hour of continuing education is equivalent to 50 minutes of actual instruction time.

4. There are no continuing education classroom courses in my area. Are other course delivery methods available?

Yes. Go to the Continuing Education Providers page on TDLR’s web site. Select the Offers Internet Courses button on the web page to see only those CE Providers that provide internet courses.

5. Who notifies TDLR that I have completed a required continuing education course?

Providers are required to submit to TDLR your continuing education course completion information. If you have taken a course from one or more providers, each provider must transmit that information to TDLR and also issue you a certificate of course completion.

CE course completion information is available on the web site for your review. If you have a question about the information posted on the web site, please check first with the provider. If you continue to have questions, please contact TDLR: by phone, (512) 463-6599 or toll-free in Texas (800) 803-9202; or by email ce@tdlr.texas.gov.

6. How will I be notified that I have completed a required continuing education course?

Your provider will issue you a course completion certificate. If you have questions, please contact your provider.

7. Can I get partial credit for completing part of a required continuing education course?

No. TDLR does not accept partial completion of a continuing education course. However, a provider may allow you to finish the course at another time. When the course is completed the provider will transmit the completion record to TDLR.

8. Will I be monitored if I take a distance learning continuing education course (for example, online)?

Yes. TDLR requires the provider to monitor licensee attendance for all courses, including online courses. If a licensee does not meet the provider’s monitoring requirements, no continuing education hours will be given.

9. Will I be able to go to TDLR’s web site and look up my completed continuing education hours?

Yes. You can use the CE Courses Lookup on TDLR’s web site.

10. What can I do if my completed continuing education hours are not posted on the TDLR web site?

If your course completion is not posted seven days after you completed the course, contact your provider.

11. What should I do if I don’t receive a certificate for my completed continuing education course?

If you do not receive your course completion certificate within 15 days from the end of your course, please check with your provider.

12. If I am a licensee and an instructor for an approved continuing education course, can I get my continuing education hours while teaching that course?

Instructors who are licensees may arrange with the provider to get continuing education hours for that portion of the course which the instructor taught. However, if the instructor does not teach the entire course, the instructor must attend the remainder of the course to obtain credit for the whole course. No partial course credit is allowed.

13. Will college course hours count towards continuing education for license renewal?

If the college course is a TDLR approved continuing education course, then the course hours can be used for license renewal. However, the courses must be taken during the period of the license being renewed. Courses which are not approved by TDLR as continuing education courses cannot be used for license renewal.

14. How long must I keep a copy of my continuing education certificate of completion?

You are required to keep a copy of the continuing education certificate for one year after the date you completed the course.


Enforcement

  1. How do I file a complaint against a licensee?
  2. How can I find out if a Water Well Driller or Pump Installer is licensed?

1. How do I file a complaint against a licensee?

To file a complaint, you may make a complaint online, or download the Complaint Form from our web site, or contact TDLR at 800-803-9202 (Texas only) or 512-463-6599.

2. How can I find out if a Water Well Driller or Pump Installer is licensed?

Visit our TDLR License Data Search page.


Communication

1. How do I stay in touch with TDLR for updates and new information?

You may sign up to receive email updates.

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

2. How do I contact the agency for further information?

You can email your questions to CS.Water.Well@tdlr.texas.gov.

You can also call us at (800) 803-9202 (Texas only) or (512) 463-6599

Fax: 512-463-9468
Relay Texas-TDD: 800-735-2989
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711
Physical Address: 920 Colorado, Austin, Texas 78701


Abandoned or Deteriorated Wells

  1. Why do I need to plug an abandoned or deteriorated well on my property?
  2. Can I just place a cover over a large diameter well?
  3. How do I identify an abandoned well?
  4. I have identified an abandoned and/or deteriorated well on my property, can I plug it myself?
  5. Where can I find the well plugging specifications?
  6. I have plugged my well. How and where do I submit the TDLR required State of Texas Plugging Report?
  7. How soon after I plug my well do I need to submit a plugging report?
  8. Can I hire someone to plug a well located on my property?
  9. Where can I find the names of licensed drillers and pump installers in my area?
  10. The abandoned well on my property has casing extending above the ground surface, can I just fill the casing with cement and leave the casing sticking up?
  11. I just bought some land and found an old well. Who is responsible for plugging or bringing the well into compliance?
  12. The plugging specifications say that I need to pump cement to the surface. However, I would like to plant grass over the spot of the old well. Is this possible?

1. Why do I need to plug an abandoned or deteriorated well on my property?

Abandoned and/or deteriorated wells serve as direct conduits to your groundwater or aquifer. The contamination can affect water wells in the area including those used for drinking water. An example of the dangers of abandoned wells can be seen below – a horse that fell into an uncovered, open, abandoned and deteriorated hand-dug water well. Luckily, the horse survived!

horse in well

Abandoned and deteriorated wells are a hazard to human and animal life, as well as to the groundwater!

2. Can I just place a cover over a large diameter well?

No. Large-diameter, as well as drilled wells must be non-deteriorated and capped with a covering capable of both preventing surface pollutants from entering the well and sustaining weight of at least four hundred (400) pounds. The covering must be constructed in such a way that it cannot be easily removed by hand.

3. How do I identify an abandoned well?

Usually you will find plastic, steel, brick or concrete casing (pipe), extending above ground (pictures 1, 3 and 6) or a hole in the ground with no apparent bottom (pictures 2 and 5). Some abandoned wells have cement or brick casing extending above ground. Those wells are usually called large diameter or hand dug (picture 4) wells. Below are some examples of abandoned wells:

abandoned well with casing and pump
Picture 1. Abandoned well with casing and pump

open-hole abandoned well
Picture 2. Abandoned well open hole

abandoned well pvc casing
Picture 3. Abandoned well PVC casing. No annular cement or surface completion.

large diameter hand-dug well
Picture 4. Large Diameter/Hand Dug Abandoned Well

abandoned well covered with plywood
Picture 5. Abandoned well covered with plywood

capped abandoned well with deteriorated casing
Picture 6. Capped abandoned well with deteriorated casing

4. I have identified an abandoned and/or deteriorated well on my property, can I plug it myself?

Yes, the statutes and rules allows landowners themselves to plug a well on their own property. The landowner is required to plug the well in accordance with the 16 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 76.1004 well plugging specifications and submit a State of Texas Plugging Report.

5. Where can I find the well plugging specifications?

By accessing the WWD/PI Section’s Well Construction and Plugging Specifications or the Landowner's Guide to Plugging Abandoned Water Wells.

6. I have plugged my well. How and where do I submit the TDLR required State of Texas Plugging Report?

Option 1 – You can download the Plugging Report from our website. Complete it, sign it, and submit the original to:

TDLR
Water Well Driller/Pump Installer Program
PO Box 12157
Austin, TX 78711

Also mail a copy to your local Groundwater Conservation District, if applicable. The Texas Water Development Board has a map of conservation districts that you can check (this link will open a new browser window).

Option 2 – You may also submit the Plugging Report online. Use ID: 10000 and Password: 3233 to submit the report. To submit the report online you must have the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates. You must determine the latitude and longitude of the well. You can accomplish this by utilizing a hand-held GPS unit or by using a mapping website such as Maptech.com, Terraserver.com or Google Earth.

7. How soon after I plug my well do I need to submit a plugging report?

You need to submit a plugging report within 30 days from the date the well was plugged.

8. Can I hire someone to plug a well located on my property?

Yes. However, the individual must be a TDLR licensed driller or pump installer.

9. Where can I find the names of licensed drillers and pump installers in my area?

You can search for licensed drillers and pump installers in the TDLR Licensing Database.

10. The abandoned well on my property has casing extending above the ground surface, can I just fill the casing with cement and leave the casing sticking up?

No. State plugging specifications require that you remove all removable casing. You must attempt to pull the casing. Depending on the circumstances, if the casing cannot be pulled, it is required to cut the casing off as far below ground level as possible and plug the well from the bottom to the top.

11. I just bought some land and found an old well. Who is responsible for plugging or bringing the well into compliance?

The landowner of record is responsible for plugging or bringing the well into compliance.

12.The plugging specifications say that I need to pump cement to the surface. However, I would like to plant grass over the spot of the old well. Is this possible?

Although the specifications require the well to be cemented to the surface, allowances are made to stop the cement plug up to 4 feet below ground level (plow depth).