July 5-12, 2004

BC introduces new groundwater protection rules

New regulations announced by British Columbia Water, Land and Air Protection Minister Bill Barisoff will provide greater protection for the province's groundwater supplies. The regulations are part of BC's Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water and mark the first time BC has put into place specific rules to protect groundwater.

"With over 750,000 British Columbians getting their drinking water from wells, we need to ensure groundwater is safe, healthy and clean," Barisoff noted.

The regulations address the risk of groundwater contamination posed by wells which are not properly constructed or closed. The rules establish standards to ensure that wells are properly drilled, sealed, maintained and closed. Included in the regulations are qualification requirements for well drillers and well pump installers. Another provision will create a provincial registry for those qualified persons.

The regulations also require wells to be flood-proofed, to prevent runoff contamination in the event of heavy rains or flooding. All community wells must also carry a well identification plate.

The regulations were developed from recommendations made by the province's Groundwater Advisory Board and in partnership with the BC Ground Water Association. The new requirements will be phased in over the next 18 months.

More information is available through the subject index on the WLAP Ministry Web site, www.gov.bc.ca/wlap.

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