Chapter 8.24


8.24.010    Short title.

8.24.020    Policy and purpose.

8.24.030    Definitions.

8.24.040    Prohibitions – Permit required.

8.24.050    Application for permit, issuance – Expiration.

8.24.060    Guarantee of performance.

8.24.070    Standards.

8.24.080    Inactive wells.

8.24.090    Suspension or revocation.

8.24.100    Appeal from denial, suspension, revocation.

8.24.110    Emergency.

8.24.120    Abatement of nuisances.

8.24.130    Right of entry to inspect.

8.24.140    Penalties.

8.24.150    Severability.

8.24.010 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and cited as the well ordinance of the city of Seaside. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.020 Policy and purpose.

The purposes of this chapter are:

A. To regulate the construction, modification or repair and the destruction of water wells in such a manner that the groundwater resources within the jurisdiction of the city will be protected to avoid jeopardizing the health, safety, or welfare of the people of this city and so that the groundwater resource may be put to the most efficient and beneficial use for the people of the city; and

B. To comply with Article 4, commencing at Section 13800 of Chapter 10, Division 7 of the Water Code, relating to well standards. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

“Applicant” shall mean:

1. The legal owner(s) of the property on which the well is to be constructed, modified or repaired or destroyed;

2. The property owner’s agent authorized in writing to make this application; or

3. A licensed well drilling contractor who shall perform the work on the well.

“City” shall mean the city of Seaside or its duly authorized representative, as the context may indicate.

“Contamination and pollution” shall have the meanings ascribed to them by California Water Code Section 13050.

Destruction. Destruction of wells shall consist of the complete filling of the well in accordance with the procedures outlined in Bulletin 84-81, “Water Well Standards: State of California” and Bulletin 84-90, “California Well Standards,” published by the California Department of Water Resources.

“Emergency” shall mean a circumstance which is either:

1. An imminent threat of or is actually contaminating or polluting the groundwater of this city; or

2. Jeopardizes the health or safety of the people of the city; or

3. Will cause a substantial and immediate loss of property, crops or livestock.

“Health official” means the health officer or the director of health services of the county of Monterey, or the authorized representative of either of them.

Inactive Well or Inactivation. An “inactive well” is one not routinely operating but capable of being made operable with a minimum effort. An inactive well shall be considered abandoned and proper destruction required when it has not been used for a period of one year unless a permit for inactivation is obtained before expiration of the one-year inactive period.

“Modification or repair” shall only mean the deepening of an existing well, or reperforation, sealing, replacement of an existing well casing, or retrofitting of any physical component of the well for the purpose of increasing the amount of water extracted by or injected through such well.

“Nuisance” shall mean a well which threatens to or which contaminates or pollutes the groundwater of the city or in any other way jeopardizes the city water supply or the health and safety of the public. A “nuisance” also means any thing or activity which creates an unsanitary or unsafe condition resulting from water well drilling activity.

“Operate” and other variations of the same verb shall mean the ongoing use of a water well for the extraction or injection of water.

“Permitting authority” is the city or the agent of the city deemed responsible for evaluating and acting upon an application for a well permit.

“Person” shall mean any individual, firm, partnership, general corporation, limited liability company, association or governmental entity.

“Re-entry” is the process of cleaning out by drilling, jetting, or any other method of an abandoned well.

“Well” or “water well” means any artificial excavation constructed by any method for the purpose of extracting water from, or injecting water into, the underground. It shall also include “cathodic protection wells,” as defined in California Water Code Section 13711. “Well” or “water well” shall also mean a well used to monitor fluctuations in groundwater levels, quality of underground waters, or the concentration of contaminants in the underground waters. “Well” or “water well” shall not include:

1. Oil and gas wells, or geothermal wells constructed under the jurisdiction of the California State Department of Conservation, except those wells converted to use as water wells; or

2. Wells used for the purpose of:

a. Dewatering excavation during construction, or

b. Stabilizing hillsides or earth embankments.

Words not otherwise defined in this chapter shall have the meaning ascribed to them in California Department of Water Resources Bulletins 74-81 and 74-90, as each may be amended. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.040 Prohibitions – Permit required.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to drill, install or construct a well; inactivate a well; modify or repair an existing, inactive or abandoned well; re-enter an abandoned or inactive well; or destroy an existing, inactive or abandoned well within the boundaries of the city unless such person has:

1. Obtained a conditional use permit issued from the city for the specific work to be performed; or

2. In case of an emergency, fully complied with the provisions of this chapter relating to emergencies.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to drill, install or construct a well; inactivate a well; modify or repair an existing, inactive or abandoned well within the boundaries of the city unless such person has complied with the standards set forth in this chapter.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to drill, install or construct a well; modify or repair an existing, inactive or abandoned well; or re-enter an abandoned or inactive well, when the property upon which such well is located receives water service from the city, or when city water service is available to the property, unless expressly authorized by the city by conditional use permit. “Available,” for the purposes of this subsection, shall mean that the city will provide water service to the property upon the applicant’s payment of all fees, costs and connection charges.

D. Wells in existence on the date the ordinance codified in this chapter was enacted shall not be subject to the permitting provisions provided for in subsection A of this section, so long as said wells are maintained and operated in the same manner that said wells were maintained and operated on the date the ordinance codified in this chapter was enacted; and further provided, that such maintenance and operation is in accordance with the standards and provisions of this chapter. Should the maintenance and operation of any well exempted by this subsection D be changed, altered, or modified in any material manner, then said well shall no longer be deemed exempted by this subsection D, and the person operating said well shall comply with the permitting provisions provided for in subsection A of this section.

E. The receipt and/or possession of a well permit pursuant to this section shall not constitute property, and by applying for a permit pursuant to this chapter, the applicant acknowledges that the city has the right to revoke or suspend any well permit pursuant to this chapter and waives any claim for compensation as a result of any such revocation or suspension. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.050 Application for permit, issuance – Expiration.

A. An application for a well permit shall be made in writing to the permitting authority on such form as may be prescribed by the city, signed by the applicant and property owner and accompanied by a nonrefundable fee established by resolution of the city council of the city and shall include but not be limited to the following:

1. Applicant’s and property owner’s name and address;

2. The name of the person who will perform the work on the well and the name of the person who will operate the well;

3. A statement that the person who is to perform the work on the well is licensed under the provisions of Chapter 9 of Division 3 of the California Business and Professions Code as a well drilling contractor and such license is in full force and effect and the number of such license and a certificate satisfying the requirements of Section 3800 of the Labor Code; or a statement that the applicant is exempt from these provisions and the basis of the claimed exemption;

4. Estimated or proposed depth of the well, casing material, sealing material, sealing method, use of the well, and drilling method to be used;

5. Description of the proposed method by which the work is to be performed;

6. Location of the property and well site, including the street address and assessor’s parcel number(s);

7. A plot plan (scale one-fourth inch equals twenty feet) indicating the location of the well with respect to the following items within a five-hundred-foot radius of the well:

a. Property lines,

b. Sewage disposal systems or works carrying or containing sewage, industrial wastes, or reclaimed water within a two-hundred-foot radius of the proposed well,

c. All perennial, seasonal, natural or artificial water bodies or water courses including the location of the one-hundred-year floodplain, if applicable,

d. Drainage pattern of the property,

e. Existing wells whether put to domestic, industrial, agricultural or other uses,

f. Access roads and easements (including water, reclaimed water sewer, utility, roadway),

g. Approximate ground level elevation of well site above mean sea level and the source of said information,

h. Existing and/or proposed structures, and

i. Animal or fowl enclosures, pens, paddocks, stockyards within a two-hundred-foot radius of the proposed well site; and

8. Evidence that the health officer has reviewed the proposed well and determined that it satisfies health and safety standards as may be established by the health official; and

9. Evidence of the following if the well is to be used to inject imported or developed water:

a. The source of the proposed imported or developed water,

b. Any form of proposed treatment to the water prior to injection into the groundwater supply,

c. Any research, analysis, or study of the water quality of the imported or developed water that is proposed for injection,

d. Any research, analysis, or study of groundwater levels, the flow of groundwater, and/or any known or suspected groundwater contamination or soil contamination sites that may contact the injected water or affect groundwater resources in any manner as a result of the injection;

10. Such other information as the city may deem necessary in order to determine whether underground waters will be protected.

B. A permit issued for construction of a well covers the construction of one complete well. If the well driller proposes to change the site of the well from that shown on the site plan of a permit, the change in site must be pre-approved by the city prior to drilling.

C. Permits shall be issued subject to the terms, conditions and standards of this chapter.

D. The permitting authority shall not issue a well permit for the injection of imported or developed water unless the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates that the proposed operation of the well will not cause any of the following:

1. The mobilization or spreading of any contaminant(s) such that the maximum contamination level for any contaminant regulated by the California Department of Health Services would be exceeded at any currently operating or planned well that is providing or will provide water for human consumption;

2. The raising of water tables to levels that could result in an adverse impact to surface land uses or infrastructure;

3. The unreasonable impairment of any water production well;

4. An otherwise unreasonable impairment of the health, safety, or welfare of the people of the city.

E. The issuance of a well permit hereunder shall be deemed a discretionary act and issuance shall be in the sole discretion of the permitting authority, subject to the provisions for appeal set forth in SMC 8.24.100. In determining whether to grant a permit as provided for herein, the permitting authority shall conform to the standards and policies set forth in this chapter. In approving discretionary permits, the permitting authority is hereby authorized to impose any reasonable conditions, as permitted by law, which are deemed necessary to eliminate or substantially mitigate any significant adverse impact on the environment, the city groundwater resource, or the health, safety, or welfare of the people of the city. As a discretionary act, issuance of a well permit requires compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq.).

F. Every well permit issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire upon completion of the task authorized in the permit; however, in any event such permit shall expire no earlier than one year from the date of issue. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.060 Guarantee of performance.

Prior to the issuance of a permit for the drilling and installation of a well, the person drilling the well shall post with the city a cash deposit or bond to guarantee compliance with the terms of this chapter and the applicable permit. Such cash or bond shall be in the amount deemed necessary by the permitting authority to include but not be limited to the remedy of improper work, but not in excess of the total estimated cost of such work. Licensed well drilling contractors shall not be required to post a pond or deposit guaranteeing performance. Eighty-five percent of the deposit or bond shall be returned to the permittee when the work has been completed to the satisfaction of the city. The remaining fifteen percent of the bond shall be returned after one year of satisfactory well operation as determined by the city. These percentages may vary to cover special conditions and circumstances in order to guarantee performance and compliance with this chapter. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.070 Standards.

Standards for construction, drilling and installing a well; inactivating a well; modifying or repairing an existing, inactive, or abandoned well; re-entry of an abandoned or inactive well; or destroying an existing, inactive or abandoned well are set forth in Bulletins 74-81 and 74-90 published by the California Department of Water Resources and are hereby adopted as part of this chapter. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.080 Inactive wells.

A. An inactive well shall be considered abandoned and proper destruction required when it has not been used for a period of one year unless a permit for inactivation is obtained before expiration of the one-year inactive period.

B. A permit to inactivate a well shall be obtained in accordance with this chapter.

C. An inactive well must be maintained in accordance with the requirements of California Department of Water Resources Bulletins 74-81 and 74-90. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.090 Suspension or revocation.

A. The city may suspend or revoke a well permit issued under this chapter whenever the city determines that a condition resulting from any work performed under such a permit constitutes a nuisance as defined herein, or when the applicant, his agent, or employee performing the work violates any provision of this chapter or any terms and conditions of the permit or misrepresents any material facts in the application for a permit.

B. Before the city suspends or revokes a well permit, the city shall make a reasonable effort to notify the applicant and provide an opportunity for him or her to show cause why the permit should not be suspended or revoked.

C. Upon notification by the city that the permit is suspended or revoked, or finding that no valid permit has been issued, no further work shall be performed until such violation has been abated. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.100 Appeal from denial, suspension, revocation.

Any person whose application for a permit has been suspended, revoked or denied may appeal to the city council in writing within ten days after notice of such suspension, revocation or denial. Said appeal shall specify the reasons therefor and shall be accompanied by a filing fee, if any, as established by the city council. The clerk of the city council shall set the appeal for hearing and shall give notice to the appellant and the appropriate city personnel of the time and place of the hearing. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.110 Emergency.

In the event of an emergency, a person may construct, drill, and install a well; inactivate a well; modify or repair an existing, inactive or abandoned well; re-enter an abandoned or inactive well; or destroy an existing, inactive or abandoned well without the permit required by this chapter; provided, that:

A. Such work is performed in conformance with the standards set forth herein;

B. The city is notified of such emergency work no later than the following city working day from the initiation of such emergency work; and

C. An application for the required permit is made within three city working days after initiation of such emergency work. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.120 Abatement of nuisances.

Upon a finding by the city that a well constitutes a nuisance, as defined herein, the city may take the necessary action to abate such nuisance. The property owner where the well is located and/or the person causing the nuisance shall be jointly liable for the reasonable costs incurred by or at the request of the city for abatement of the nuisance. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.130 Right of entry to inspect.

A. The city shall have the right to enter upon any property at any reasonable time to make inspections and examinations for the purposes of enforcement of this chapter, subject to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure Section 1822.50 et seq.

B. The city shall be notified at least twenty-four hours in advance of the following permitted activity:

1. The sealing of the annular space on a well;

2. The destruction of a well; or

3. Any other activity which may be conditioned on the permit by the city requiring notice and inspection given the special or unusual conditions of the permit. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.140 Penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each day of such offense continues and shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. 1042 § 2, 2017; Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)

8.24.150 Severability.

If any portion of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter, it being expressly declared that this chapter and each portion hereof would have been adopted irrespective of the fact that any portion would be declared invalid. (Ord. 908 (Att. 1), 2002)