We regulate and license well operators in Washington state to:
- Provide minimum standards for well construction.
- Improve drilling safety.
- Protect water resources.
The licensing program offers several ways to become a licensed operator. At a minimum, new well operators are trained over a period of more than two years under experienced licensees. We work to support well operators by providing delegated county information, maintaining relevant databases, and evaluating continuing education offerings. Well drillers are also invited to get involved in developing and revising regulations through our technical advisory group.
Get a license
We run the well operator licensing program for Washington state. A license is required for anyone who constructs or decommissions water wells or resource protection wells, with two exceptions. Applicants must meet certain requirements and pass a written exam. Continuing education is also required as a well driller.
- Prepare for the written exam:
- Learn about our program:
Get or track continuing education units
Well drillers must continue their education. For more detail and a list of approved courses, please read the continuing education for licensed well operators page.
Find the report forms for water and resource protection wells
Submit an online report for resource protection wells
Licensed well operators and trainees can submit certain resource protection well reports online through the Well Report Gateway. Reports for the following four types of wells can now be submitted online:
- Geotechnical soil borings
- Environmental investigation boring: soil sampling
- Environmental investigation boring: vapor sampling
- Environmental investigation boring: water sampling
For all other wells, well operators need to submit reports to us by mailing the original signed forms to the appropriate regional office.
Submit an online notice of intent form
NEW REQUIREMENTS effective Jan. 19, 2018
Prior to filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) with us, check with your local permitting agency to ensure you are drilling in compliance with new requirements. Some areas may require additional fees or connection to a public water supplier.
For more information on the new regulations, see streamflow restoration.
Before you drill a well, you must submit a notice of intent (NOI) to us 72 hours before drilling starts.
A NOI is not a permit, certificate, or application for a water right. It also does not represent approval or permission to use water from the well. Once the well is drilled, water may only be withdrawn if it is legally available. The well also needs to be put to beneficial use to establish a "right" to use the water.
- NOI forms can be submitted online. You can also request a paper version of the form by emailing email@example.com.
Search for NOIs, drillers, and companies
The well construction and licensing system allows you to search for:
- Active NOIs to construct or decommission a well
- Licensed drillers
- Drilling companies
You can also update your information and see your continuing education units.
Delegated authority activities and contacts
Some county health agencies are authorized to inspect well construction and decommissioning work on our behalf. Drillers must contact delegated counties prior to starting work.
- Our annual reports about these delegated activities and a list of county contacts can be found on our delegated authority page.
Technical advisory group
Well construction and licensing statutes and regulations are developed and revised by the Well Construction Technical Advisory Group (TAG). This group is made of representatives from regulatory agencies and private industries with interests in well construction. Meetings are open to the public.