Chapter 8.24


8.24.010    Purpose of this chapter.

8.24.020    Definitions and interpretation.

8.24.030    Permit required.

8.24.040    Penalty for failure to obtain permit.

8.24.050    Emergency work.

8.24.060    Application procedure.

8.24.070    Filing fees.

8.24.080    Permit conditions.

8.24.090    Permit – Denial.

8.24.100    Permit – Expiration.

8.24.110    Permit – Suspension and revocation.

8.24.120    Well standards.

8.24.130    Variances.

8.24.140    Soquel Creek service area restrictions.

8.24.150    Other special groundwater protection.

8.24.160    Inspections.

8.24.170    Initial inspection.

8.24.180    Inspection of well seal.

8.24.190    Final inspection.

8.24.200    Waiver of inspections.

8.24.210    Completion reports.

8.24.220    Submittal of state “report of completion”.

8.24.230    Confidentiality of report.

8.24.240    Other agency’s requirements.

8.24.250    Right of appeal.

8.24.260    Action by the council.

8.24.270    Right of entry and inspection.

8.24.280    Destruction of abandoned wells.

8.24.290    Violation – Penalty.

8.24.300    Civil enforcement – Notice of violation.

8.24.310    Civil enforcement – Nuisance.

8.24.320    Remedies cumulative.

8.24.330    Reports to the regional board.

*    Prior history: Ordinances 495 and 635.

8.24.010 Purpose of this chapter.

It is the purpose of this chapter to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of the state of California by ensuring that the groundwaters of this state will not be polluted or contaminated. To this end, minimum requirements are contained in this chapter for construction, reconstruction, repair and destruction of water wells, cathodic protection wells and monitoring wells. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.020 Definitions and interpretation.

Except as otherwise required by the context of this chapter, the terms used in this chapter shall have the same meaning as in Chapter 10 of Division 7 of the California Water Code and the Department of Water Resources Bulletin 74-81 and subsequent supplements or revisions. The following specific definitions apply to this chapter.

A. “City” means the city of Capitola acting (except for appeals) through the health officer.

B. “Council” means the city council.

C. “Person” means any person, firm, corporation or governmental agency, to the extent authorized by law.

D. “Well” or “water well” shall, as provided in California Water Code, Section 13710, mean “... any artificial excavation constructed by any method for the purpose of extracting water from or injecting water into, the underground.” Potholes, drainage trenches or canals, wastewater ponds, shallow root zone piezometers, stock ponds, or similar excavations are not included within the definition of wells. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.030 Permit required.

No person shall dig, bore, drill, deepen, modify, repair, or destroy a water well, cathodic protection well, observation well, monitoring well or any other excavation that may intersect groundwater without first applying for and receiving a permit as provided in this chapter unless exempted by law. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.040 Penalty for failure to obtain permit.

Any person who shall commence any work for which a permit is required by this chapter without having obtained a permit shall be required, if subsequently granted a permit for this work, to pay double the standard permit fee. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.050 Emergency work.

The provisions of Section 8.24.030 shall not apply to emergency work required on short notice to maintain drinking water or agricultural supply systems. In such cases, the person responsible for the emergency work shall:

A. Satisfy the health officer that such work was urgently necessary; and

B. Demonstrate that all work performed was in conformance with the technical standards as designated in Section 8.24.120. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.060 Application procedure.

Applications for permits shall be made to the health officer on forms approved by him or her and shall contain all such information which the health officer requires to accomplish the purposes of this chapter. The application shall be accompanied by the required filing fee. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.070 Filing fees.

Filing fees may be set by the council from time to time by ordinance or resolution. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.080 Permit conditions.

A. Limitations. When the city issues a permit pursuant to this chapter, it may condition the permit in any manner necessary to carry out the purpose of this chapter. Conditions may include, but are not limited to such quantity and quality testing methods as the city finds necessary.

B. Performance Bond. The city may require a performance bond as a condition to the permit.

C. Persons Permitted to Work on Wells. All construction, reconstruction, or destruction work on wells shall be performed by a person who possesses an active C-57 contractor’s license in accordance with the provisions of the California Business and Professions Code, Section 7000, et seq., and Water Code Section 13750.5.

D. Proper Disposal of Drilling Fluids. The permit shall contain a clause requiring the safe and appropriate handling and disposal of drilling fluids and other drilling materials used in connection with the permitted work.

E. Abandoned Wells. As a condition of a construction or reconstruction permit, any abandoned wells on the property shall be destroyed in accordance with standards provided in this chapter.

F. Posting of Permit. It shall be the responsibility of the permittee to maintain a copy of this permit on the drilling site during all stages of construction or destruction. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.090 Permit – Denial.

City shall deny an application for a permit if, in its judgment, issuance of a permit is not in the public interest. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.100 Permit – Expiration.

The permittee shall complete the work authorized by the permit within the time and before the date set out in the permit. If there have been exceptional circumstances, the city may grant the applicant an extension. Upon the expiration of the permit, no further work shall be done unless and until the applicant has received an extension or a new permit. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.110 Permit – Suspension and revocation.

A. Circumstances for Such Action. The city may suspend or revoke any permit issued pursuant to this chapter, whenever it finds that the permittee has violated any of the provisions of this chapter, or has misrepresented any material fact in his or her application, or any supporting documents, for such a permit. Prior to ordering any such suspension or revocation, the city shall give the permittee an opportunity for a hearing thereon, after reasonable notice. The hearing shall be before the city head or his or her designated representative. An appeal may be made as set forth below.

B. Consequences. No person whose permit has been suspended or revoked shall continue to perform the work for which the permit was granted until, in the case of suspension, such permit has been reinstated by the city.

C. Ordered Additional Work. Upon suspending or revoking any permit, the city may order the permittee to perform any work reasonably necessary to protect the underground waters from pollution or contamination, if any work already done by the permittee has left a well in such condition as to constitute a hazard to the quality of the underground waters. No permittee or person who has held any permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall fail to comply with an such order. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.120 Well standards.

Except as otherwise specified, the standards for the construction, repair, reconstruction, or destruction of wells shall be as set forth in the California Department of Water Resources Bulletin 74-81 “Water Well Standards, State of California” except as modified by subsequent revisions by the Department of Water Resources. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.130 Variances.

The city shall have the power under the following specified conditions to grant a variance from any provision of the standards referenced above and to prescribe alternative requirements in their place.

A. There must be, in a specific case, a special circumstance where practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship would result from the strict interpretation and enforcement of any standard.

B. The granting of such a variance must be consistent with the purposes of this chapter. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.140 Soquel Creek service area restrictions.

A. Findings. The city council finds and determines that:

1. Several reports have been prepared which indicate the potential for seawater intrusion into the Purisima Formation in the Soquel-Aptos groundwater basin; and

2. There is need for careful monitoring and management of the groundwater basin; and

3. Careful management is greatly facilitated by restricting the number of new wells and requiring that new development be supplied by Soquel Creek county water district, a public agency empowered to carry out monitoring and management efforts; and

4. Construction of new wells within the water district service area increase the potential public health hazard of cross-connections between private and public water systems;

5. Development should be served by a public water system.

B. Well Construction Within the Soquel Creek County Water District Service Area. The construction of new wells shall be prohibited on parcels that are both within the area designated as the “Soquel-Aptos Groundwater Basin: (as adopted by separate board Resolution 233-81) and within two hundred feet of a water distribution line of the Soquel Creek county water district.

C. New Well Construction – Exceptions. The following new well construction shall not be subject to the prohibition of this section:

1. Replacement of existing wells;

2. Well construction pursuant to valid well drilling permit issued on or before April 6, 1981;

3. Construction of a well for agricultural use, monitoring and observations purposes, or cathodic protection; and

4. Well construction on parcels which cannot be served by the Soquel Creek county water district, as determined by the community development director based on a written statement from the district clearly outlining their inability to provide the service. (Ord. 688 § 1, 1990; Ord. 635 § 1, 1987)

8.24.150 Other special groundwater protection.

The city may designate areas where groundwater quality problems are known to exist and where a well will penetrate more than one aquifer. The city may require in these designated areas special well seal(s) to prevent mixing of water from several aquifers. Where an applicant proposes well construction, reconstruction, or destruction work in such an area, the city may require the applicant to provide a report prepared by a registered geologist or registered civil engineer (California Business and Professions Code Sections 7850 and 6762 respectively) that identifies all strata containing poor quality water and recommends the location and specifications of the seal or seals needed to prevent the entrance of poor quality water or its migration into other aquifers. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.160 Inspections.

The health officer shall make an inspection of the annular seal construction work. The health officer may make an initial inspection of each proposed drilling site, an inspection at the completion of the work, and inspections at such other times as it deems appropriate. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.170 Initial inspection.

Upon receipt of an application, the city may make an inspection of the drilling site prior to the issuance of a well permit. The purpose of, this inspection is to determine whether there are any site conditions such that the city shall do the following:

A. Require relocation of the drilling site should the location shown on the permit application be too close to potential sources of pollution;

B. Set additional conditions if needed to remediate any previously unknown groundwater quality protection problems. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.180 Inspection of well seal.

The health officer shall inspect the annular space grout depth prior to the sealing.

A. Required Notice. The health officer shall be notified by the well driller a minimum of twenty-four hours prior to sealing the annular space. Drillers who anticipate completing a well in less than one day shall notify the city twenty-four hours prior to commencement of drilling and provide the anticipated time to commence the sealing of the annular space.

B. Should Health Officer Fail to be Present. If the city wishes to allow a seal to be tremied or placed without inspection, the driller shall seal the well in accordance with the standards of this chapter and any permit conditions. No seal shall be tremied or placed until permission to proceed is given. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.190 Final inspection.

If requested by the city, the driller shall notify the health officer within seven days of the completion of its work at each drilling site. The health officer may make a final inspection after completion of the work to determine whether the well was completed in accordance with this chapter. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.200 Waiver of inspections.

The health officer may waive inspections should any of the following conditions exist:

A. Inspections may be waived where the work will be inspected by the staff of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board or the California Department of Health Services if these designated agencies will inspect and report to the city on all drilling features required by the standards.

B. Inspections may be waived for monitoring wells that will penetrate only aquifers containing degraded waters or will penetrate only formations that normally contain no water.

C. Initial inspections may be waived when the drilling site is well known to the city staff and it is known that no significant threats to groundwater quality exist in the area. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.210 Completion reports.

The driller shall provide the health officer a completion report within thirty days of the completion of any well construction, reconstruction, or destruction job. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.220 Submittal of state “report of completion”.

A copy of the “report of completion” (Water Well Driller’s Report, Department of Water Resources Form 188) required by California Water Code Section 13751 shall be submitted by the permittee to the health officer within thirty days of construction, alteration, or destruction of any well. This report shall document that the work was completed in accordance with the standards and all additional permit conditions. This section shall not be deemed to release any person from the requirement to file said report with the state Department of Water Resources. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.230 Confidentiality of report.

In accordance with California Water Code Section 13752, reports shall not be made available for inspection by the public but shall be made available for inspection by governmental agencies for use in making studies. Reports shall be made available to any person who obtains written authorization from the owner of the well. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.240 Other agency’s requirements.

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to excuse any person from compliance with the provisions of California Water Code Sections 13750 through 13755 relating to notices and reports of completion or any other federal, state or local reporting regulations. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.250 Right of appeal.

Any person whose application for a permit has been denied, or granted conditionally, or whose permit has been suspended or revoked, or whose variance request has been denied, may appeal to the council, in writing, within ten days after any such denial, conditional granting, suspension, or revocation. Such appeal shall specify the grounds upon which it is taken, and shall be accompanied by filing fee as set forth herein. The city clerk shall set such appeal for hearing at the earliest practicable time, and shall notify the appellant and the council, in writing, of the time so set at least five days prior to the hearing. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.260 Action by the council.

After such hearing, which shall be de novo, the council may reverse, wholly or partly, or may modify the order or determination appealed from. Regarding findings, see Section 2.52.060. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.270 Right of entry and inspection.

Representatives of the city shall have the right to enter upon any premises at all reasonable times to make inspections and tests for the purpose of such enforcement and administration. If any such premises are occupied, the representative shall first present proper credentials and demand entry. If the same is unoccupied, he or she shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of same and demand entry. If such entry is refused, he or she shall have recourse to such remedies as are provided by law to secure entry. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.280 Destruction of abandoned wells.

All persons owning an abandoned well as defined in the well standards shall destroy it before December 31, 1991, except those excluded by California Health and Safety Code Section 24440. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.290 Violation – Penalty.

Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter may be prosecuted as provided in Section 1.01.090 and Title 4 of this code. (Ord. 955 § 5, 2011; Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.300 Civil enforcement – Notice of violation.

A. Notice of Violation Recordation. Whenever the city determines that a well: (1) has not been completed in accordance with a well permit or the plans and specifications relating thereto; (2) has been constructed without the required permit; or (3) an abandoned well has not been destroyed in accordance with the standards, the city may record a notice of violation with the office of the county recorder. The owner(s) of the property, as revealed by the assessment roll, on which the violation is situated and any other person responsible for the violation shall be notified of the recordation, if their address is available.

If the property owner(s) or authorized agent disagree with the determination, he or she may submit evidence to the city indicating that there is no violation and then shall have a right to appeal an adverse decision to the council in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 2.52.

B. Removal of Violation Notice. The city shall submit a removal of notice of violation to the county recorder when: (1) it is determined by the health officer or the council, after review, that no violation of this chapter exists; or (2) all required and corrective work has been completed and approved by the city. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.310 Civil enforcement – Nuisance.

Violations of this chapter may also be redressed in the manner set forth in Section 1.01.090 and Title 4 of this code. In addition to being subject to prosecution, any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter may be made the subject to a civil action. Appropriate civil action includes, but is not limited to, injunctive relief and cost recovery. (Ord. 955 § 6, 2011; Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.320 Remedies cumulative.

The remedies available to the city to enforce this chapter are in addition to any other remedies available under ordinance or statute, and do not replace or supplant any other remedy but are cumulative thereto. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)

8.24.330 Reports to the regional board.

Pursuant to California Water Code Section 13225(c), the city shall submit a report, not less than annually, to the California Regional Water Quality Control Board(s) having jurisdiction in their area. This report shall contain the following data, unless the regional board determines a lesser amount of information is necessary:

A. Wells Constructed or Destroyed. The number of wells constructed or destroyed;

B. Abatement Actions. Descriptions of all well destructions undertaken by the city using its regulatory authority under nuisance abatement powers;

C. Variances Granted. A description of each specific case where variances were granted and the circumstances that made a variance necessary;

D. Inspection Waivers Granted. A description of each specific case where an inspection was waived and the circumstances that made the waiver necessary. (Ord. 688 § 2, 1990)