The State Engineer has general supervision of the waters of the state and is authorized under Section 41-3-909 to establish standards for the construction of water wells to protect the use of the state’s groundwater resources. The enactment of federal and state environmental quality law and fostering of safe and clean water policy has prompted enhanced well head protection measures against contamination of groundwater resources.
The Rule-making Process
The State Engineer’s Office’ 1974 Water Well Minimum Construction Standards went through a major revision in 2010. The new rules provide construction and abandonment requirements for private water supply wells (Note: construction standards for public water supply wells are under the jurisdiction of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality). Advances in water well construction technology, water well construction materials and a general awareness concerning waterborne disease and water quality characteristics dictated the revisions.
On August 2, 2009, the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office (SEO) issued a Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules which provided a public comment period from August 2 through September 16, 2009. During this comment period, 214 comments were received from 12 separate commenters (one set of comments was signed by 30 individuals). On September 24, 2009, a public hearing was held to facilitate the additional provision of public comments to the State Engineer’s Office. This hearing was hosted in Cheyenne with remote video conference sites in Cody, Rock Springs, and Gillette. During the hearing, 18 individuals provided comments which resulted in 71 identifiable comments. Many of these comments were duplicates of those comments received during the written comment period.
On November 30, 2009, the SEO issued a response to all written and oral comments. As a result of the comment period, the SEO modified the proposed minimum construction standards. The SEO estimates that the new rules accommodate 90-95% of the comments and concerns regarding the first draft. Because the changes were extensive, the SEO decided to release the draft rules for a second round of public comment.
On December 8, 2009, the SEO issued a second Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules which provided a comment period from December 9, 2009 through January 22, 2010. During this second comment period, 3 sets of comments were received which resulted in 8 identifiable comments. Of these commenters, one did not provide any actual comments, but instead supported the proposed rules as drafted.
The proposed rules were modified for grammatical errors only and were adopted by the State Engineer on February 3, 2010. The final rules package was delivered to the Attorney General’s Office, the Legislative Service Office, and the Secretary of State on February 4, 2010. The rules were signed by Governor Dave Freudenthal on April 5, 2010, and were filed with the Secretary of State on April 6, 2010.
In 2011, the Ground Water Division noticed two grammatical mistakes in the rules which required correction. GW was successful in correcting these mistakes and the corrected rules were filed with the Secretary of State’s Office during June 2011.
Water Well Minimum Construction Standards
Ground Water >