Water Well Drillers and Pump Installers Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

Licensing questions

Enforcement questions

Communication questions

Abandoned or Deteriorated Wells

Continuing Education

GENERAL
  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?
LICENSING
  1. What do I need to do to get licensed as a water 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. What is the license fee?
  4. When is the next exam?
  5. Do you provide study material?
  6. How often can examination(s) be taken?
  7. What is needed to retake examination(s)?
  8. What are the exam fees?
  9. How do I reschedule an exam?
  10. How long is my license active before I am required to renew?
  11. How much does it cost to renew my license?
  12. How far back do I go on this renewal for my well reports?
  13. Can I bank Continuing Education (CE) hours?
  14. How do I change my address?
  15. My license has expired, how do I reinstate it?
  16. What permits are required to drill a water well?
  17. Is this person licensed?
  18. How many unlicensed assistants can work under the supervision of a water well driller or pump installer?
  19. Does an apprentice have to be licensed?
ENFORCEMENT
  1. How do I file a complaint against a licensee?
COMMUNICATION
  1. How may I receive notification of new and changing information with your department?
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?
CONTINUING EDUCATION
  1. What is required to renew my TDLR Water Well Driller and/or Pump Installer license besides submitting my renewal application and renewal fee?
  2. Should I wait to submit my license renewal application until after I have completed my fours hours of continuing education?
  3. Where can I locate water well driller and/or pump installer continuing education provider and course information?
  4. What is the actual amount of instruction time required for one hour of continuing education?
  5. There are no continuing education classroom courses in my area. Are other course delivery methods available?
  6. What must I do if I have already taken a continuing education course since I was licensed, but that provider is not on TDLR’s web site list of registered providers?
  7. Who notifies TDLR that I have completed a required continuing education course?
  8. How will I be notified that I have completed a required continuing education course?
  9. Can I get partial credit for completing part of a required continuing education course?
  10. Are licensees who take a distance learning continuing education courses (for example: Internet) monitored?
  11. Will I be able to go to TDLR’s web site and look up my completed continuing education hours?
  12. What can I do if my completed continuing education hours are not posted on the TDLR web site?
  13. What should I do if I don’t receive a certificate for my completed continuing education course?
  14. 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?
  15. Will college course hours count towards continuing education for license renewal?
  16. How long must I keep a copy of my continuing education certificate of completion?

GENERAL

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.

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 landowner themselves.

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?

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?
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, 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

1. What do I need to do to get licensed as a water well driller and/or pump installer?

Make application, meet experience qualifications, take and pass the examination(s). The application and all necessary forms are available on our website at www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwdforms.htm 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?
An applicant must meet the minimum requirements as stated:

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

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

The application and all necessary forms are available on our website at www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwdforms.htm or by calling (800) 803-9202 (Texas only), or (512) 463-6599.

3.What is the license fee?

Once you have passed the examination, the license fee will be $215.00 for either the driller's license or the pump installer's license. If you are applying for a combination license, the fee will be $325.00. A complete list of fees is available online in the WWD/PI Administrative Rules.

4. When is the next exam?

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

5. 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 at www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwd.htm and www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwdexam.htm or by calling (800) 803-9202 (toll free in Texas only), or (512) 463-6599.

6. 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.

7. What is needed to retake examination(s)?

To reschedule an examination appointment without forfeiting your fee if your cancellation notices is 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.

8. What are the exam fees?

  • General Well Driller - $55
  • Water Well Driller - $55
  • Injection Well Driller - $55
  • Monitor Well Driller - $55
  • General Pump Installer - $55
  • Closed Loop Geothermal Well Driller - $45
  • Single Phase Pump - $45
  • Three Phase Pump - $45
  • Line Shaft Turbine Pump - $45
  • Windmills, Hand Pump, & Pump Jack - $45

9. How do I reschedule an exam?

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

10. How long is my license active before I am required to renew?

Your license is active for one year. At the end of that year, you will receive a renewal notice. You have 18 months from your license expiration date to renew your license.

11.  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.

12. 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.

13. Can I bank Continuing Education (CE)hours?

No, four (4) hours of continuing education must be accumulated during the license period, prior to each renewal. Any CE Hours accumulated over and above the required four hours do not qualify for future license renewals.

14. 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.

15. My license has expired, how do I reinstate it?

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.

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

None are required at the state level; however permits or well registrations may be required by local ordinances or groundwater conservation districts.

17. Is this person licensed?

To determine if a person is licensed, you may search the Licensing Database through the department's website or contact the Licensing and e-Commerce Division at (800) 803-9202 (Texas only) or (512) 469-6599.

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

A 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

19. Does an apprentice have to be licensed?

As of November 1, 2012, TDLR is no longer issuing registrations for Water Well Driller & Pump Installer Apprentices.  Any Water Well Driller & Pump Installer Apprentice applications and fees not already processed will be returned to the applicant.

ENFORCEMENT

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

To file a complaint, you may access our website at www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwdforms.htm, click on Report Violations online and follow the instructions or contact the department at (800) 803-9202 (Texas only) or (512) 463-6599.

COMMUNICATION

1. How may I receive notification of new and changing information from your department?

You may sign up on the TDLR E-mail Subscriber Notification Lists on our website at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXDLR/subscriber/topics?qsp=CODE_RED. These list(s) were established to allow subscribers to receive automated notification of new and changing information.

ABANDONED OR DETERIORATED WELLS

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
Picture 1. Abandoned well w/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 the landowner 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?

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.

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).

CONTINUING EDUCATION

1. What is required to renew my TDLR Water Well Driller and/or Pump Installer license besides submitting my renewal application and renewal fee?

Each water well driller and/or pump installer is required to complete fours 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.)

2. 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 be subject to late fees.

3. Where can I locate water well driller and/or pump installer continuing education provider and course information?

You can find TDLR Water Well Driller and Pump Installer (WWD/PI) continuing education provider and course information on TDLR’s WWD/PI web page under “List of registered Continuing Education providers and courses for Water Well Drillers and Pump Installers.” This list is updated as new providers are registered and courses are approved.

4. 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.

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

Yes.  Please refer to the list of registered Water Well Driller and Pump Installer providers and courses on the WWD/PI licensee continuing education web page:  http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwdce.htm.

This list is updated as new providers are registered and courses approved.

6. What must I do if I have already taken a continuing education course since I was licensed, but that provider is not on TDLR’s web site list of registered providers?

If the course you took was not from a registered TDLR provider (or was not an approved course), it will not count toward your required hours for license renewal. You must select from registered providers and approved courses located at http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/wwd/wwdce.htm.

7. 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.

TDLR will make the provider course completion information available on the web site for your review and you may check for your posted courses at Continuing Education Course Look-up     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 inTexas (800) 803-9202; or by e-mail ce@tdlr.texas.gov.

8. 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 first. If you continue to have questions, please contact TDLR: by phone, (512) 463-6599 or toll-free inTexas (800) 803-9202; or by e-mail ce@tdlr.texas.gov.

9. 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 fully completed, the provider will transmit the completion record to TDLR.

10. Will I be monitored if I take a distance learning continuing education course (for example: Internet).

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

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

Yes. You can check your records of for completed CE hours from TDLR’s web site.

12. 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 first. If you continue to have questions, please contact TDLR: by phone, (512) 463-6599 or toll-free inTexas (800) 803-9202; or by e-mail ce@tdlr.texas.gov.

13. 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 completion date of the course, please check first with your provider. If you continue to have questions, please contact TDLR: by phone, (512) 463-6599 or toll-free inTexas (800) 803-9202; or by e-mail ce@tdlr.texas.gov.

14. 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.

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

Courses which are not approved by TDLR as continuing education courses can not be used 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. (See question and answer #1.)

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

Licensees are required to keep the course completion certificate for one year after the date of course completion.

 

Top of Page | WWD / PI Home Page | TDLR Home Page