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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 13, 2016 03:12 PM
From: Representative Kate Harper
To: All House members
Subject: Water Well Drilling Standards
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to provide for water well construction standards through the adoption of rules and regulations recommended by the National Groundwater Association. One of the greatest risks residents face stems from a general lack of awareness of the problems that, if left unchecked, can threaten the health and safety of families. The Pennsylvania Statewide water plan, completed several years ago, identified PA's failure to have any standards regarding how water wells must be drilled as a serious concern whether with private homeowner water supplies or with contaminants in the aquifer from which the public draws its water. Enacting legislation to have water well standards was the Plan's #1 priority.

Some 20,000 new water wells are drilled each year in Pennsylvania, but the Commonwealth is one of only two states without minimum construction parameters. More than 3 million Pennsylvanians rely on about 1 million private wells for drinking water. Improperly constructed water wells can lead to poor water quality by providing pathways for bacteria and contaminants such as naturally occurring shallow methane gas to migrate into water supplies. Ensuring that the well is constructed properly from the start will help to prevent water quality problems in the future.

To avoid any confusion upfront: the proposed legislation would merely establish construction standards, including the decommissioning of abandoned wells, to be followed by water well drillers and owners. Nothing in this legislation requires the metering of homeowner wells.

Both environmentalists and the oil and gas industry support standards for well-drillers to ensure our drinking water supplies are not contaminated.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB596