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How to Drill a Water Well in South Carolina

Tracy Barnhart

Residential drinking water wells and irrigation wells are installed by property owners who are either not able to connect to a public water service for drinking water or who want to use groundwater on their lawns and gardens. In South Carolina, the Bureau of Water within the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control governs the installation of residential wells. The department's guidelines for the installation of water wells makes the permitting and installation process straightforward. A property owner may install the well personally or may hire a South Carolina-certified well driller to install the well.


Residential water wells allow home owners access to groundwater for drinking and irrigation.

Step 1

Submit a notice of intent form to the department and pay the permit fee prior to installation of the water well. As of 2010, the fee for a drinking water well is $70 and the fee for an irrigation well is $50. The notice of intent form is available for download on the department's website.

Step 2

Notify the department's local District Environmental Quality Control office of the date of drilling activities at least 48 hours prior to installation. The department's website provides a list of telephone numbers for local offices. A representative of the quality control office may visit the residence during the well installation to perform an inspection.

Step 3

Choose an installation method for the well based on your location and mobilize the equipment and personnel to the property. Wells installed in the sandy, coastal region of South Carolina may be dug using a hand auger while wells in the clay and rock-rich areas should be drilled or bored using a drill rig. The well driller should recommend the proper installation method for the water well.


Step 1

Follow the South Carolina Well Standards regulation. Since South Carolina has vastly different geology throughout the state, the well depth and design will vary based upon the location of the well.

Step 2

Install the well so that the slotted well screen extends into the water table and the solid well casing extends throughout the area above the water table.

Step 3

Place sand in the annular space around the slotted screen and extend the sand at least two feet above the top of the screen.

Step 4

Place approximately two feet of bentonite pellets above the sand and fill the remaining annular space with grout. Complete the well with a wellhead, sampling spigot and sanitary seal.

Step 5

Develop the well to remove any residual sediment from inside the casing. Use a pump or bailer to remove the water from the well.

Step 6

Disinfect the well following completion of the well. The South Carolina Well Standards provide the criteria for proper disinfection of the well.


Step 1

Affix an identification plate to the well listing the driller’s name and license number, installation date, total well depth and casing depth.

Step 2

Complete a Water Well Record Form 1903 for the well and submit the form to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Water well record forms are available for download on the department's website.

Step 3

Collect a sample from your drinking water well using a sampling kit provided by the department and have the state analyze the sample for coliform bacteria. The cost of the coliform test is included in the permitting fee for drinking water wells. If you suspect additional contaminants are present, the department can perform additional testing of your water as noted on the website.