Proposed well regulations in Alamance County update would not impact public

By Stephanie Butzer

Proposed changes to regulations covering wells in Alamance County would impact contractors, but not homeowners, a county health official said.

The proposed changes would slightly modify the current regulations regarding well contractor notification requirements, standard of construction and well maintenance and repair. On April 16, Alamance County Board of Health will hold a public hearing to examine the proposed changes.

“The public will see very little difference related to these changes,” said Carl Carroll, environmental health director at the Alamance County Health Department. “The changes will mostly affect the (well) contractor.”

For years, the department required well contractors to have a surety bond. The bond served as another level of enforcement, so if a contractor didn’t complete a job as was instructed, the department would have a way to correct the situation. A contractor recommended changing the surety bond regulation and the health department agreed with him.

“What we found is that there are some additional remedies in place on the state level,” Carroll said. “After discussing this with our county attorney, we didn’t feel that we needed to keep this in the well regulations.”

Not only was this regulation not helping the department, but removing it would save the well contractors money because they wouldn’t have to secure the bond every year with insurance companies. If this change were accepted, it would, overall, be much simpler for the contractor, Carroll said.

The Almanace County seal. Photo from The Times-News.

The Almanace County seal. Photo from The Times-News.

Other minor proposed changes include allowing contractors to use liner sand cement grout, which is an additional product they could use when a well is being grouted, and allowing an owner to keep a well even if there is just a small trickle of water going into it.

On Feb. 26, the updated draft was sent to the 13 contractor companies that do work in Alamance County and the surrounding counties. The department asked for comments about the proposed changes. There were no oppositions.

The board of health may make a final decision on the updates during the public hearing. They can approve it, not approve it, make changes to it or wait for another meeting, Carroll said. In the past, the board has made the decision that evening and Carroll expects this instance to be the same since only one or two people usually attend the hearing and the department of health didn’t receive any comments from contractors.

If adopted, these regulations will go into effect July 1.

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