2005 Idaho Code - 42-238 — WELL DRILLERS\' LICENSES AND OPERATOR PERMITS

                                  TITLE  42
                       IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE -- WATER
                            RIGHTS AND RECLAMATION
                                  CHAPTER 2
                      APPROPRIATION OF WATER -- PERMITS,
                     CERTIFICATES, AND LICENSES -- SURVEY
    42-238.  WELL DRILLERS' LICENSES AND OPERATOR PERMITS. (1) The director of
the department of water resources is hereby vested with the duties relating to
the licensing of well drillers and operators of well drilling equipment as
provided for in this act so as to protect the ground water resources against
waste and contamination. Qualifications for well drillers and operators of
well drilling equipment shall be adopted by rule of the water resource board.
    (2)  It shall be unlawful for any person to drill a well in Idaho,
including wells excepted under sections 42-227 and 42-228, Idaho Code, without
first complying with the provisions of this chapter. It shall be unlawful for
any person to abandon a well in Idaho without first obtaining a driller's
license or receiving a waiver of the license requirement from the director of
the department of water resources. Authorization is required from the director
prior to the abandonment and the person abandoning the well shall submit to
the director a report describing the abandonment.
    (3)  For the purpose of this act, a "person" shall be defined as any
individual who drills or abandons any well for himself or another in this
state; it shall also be defined as any firm, copartnership, corporation or
association which drills or abandons, or contracts to drill or abandon any
well for hire or otherwise in this state.
    (4)  A driller's license shall be obtained by filing with the director an
application in writing on a form provided by the director accompanied by a two
hundred dollar ($200) application fee.
    (5)  The director shall require that an applicant for a driller's license
successfully pass a written or oral examination, and be required to submit
references and other detailed information describing past drilling experience
to allow the director to determine if the applicant is qualified to drill
wells in the state.
    (6)  The water resource board shall adopt rules for licensing and renewal
of licenses of well drillers in compliance with chapter 52, title 67, Idaho
Code. The board is authorized to adopt rules on professional responsibility
and continuing education requirements, not to exceed twenty (20) hours during
each licensing period. Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, the
director may refuse to issue or renew a driller's license permanently or for a
designated period of time if the driller has previously constructed wells
improperly or constructed a well without a valid driller's license. The rules
may also allow for the director to issue a license with limitations on the
type, size or depth of wells the applicant is authorized to construct. A copy
of the proposed rules for licensing of well drillers shall be furnished to
each well driller holding a current license at the time such proposed rules
are promulgated or modified. The rules shall provide for the consideration of
such factors as the applicant's:
    (a)  Knowledge of Idaho water laws and the rules of the water resource
    board in connection with the drilling of wells including proper well
    construction standards and procedures;
    (b)  Knowledge of the various types of drilling tools and their use;
    (c)  General knowledge of underground geology and ground water hydrology
    and their relation to well construction;
    (d)  Ownership or access to equipment capable of adequately constructing a
    well;
    (e)  Knowledge of types of well casing and their use;
    (f)  Knowledge of special well drilling problems and their solution,
    including additional requirements for licensing for drillers who construct
    wells in areas of drilling concern or for the production of low
    temperature geothermal resources as defined in section 42-233, Idaho Code,
    and for the production of geothermal resources as provided in chapter 40,
    title 42, Idaho Code;
    (g)  Previous drilling experience; and
    (h)  History of compliance with well drilling laws and rules.
    (7)  If it is determined that the applicant for a driller's license is not
qualified, the director shall deny the application. If it is determined that
the applicant is qualified, a license shall be issued upon the filing with the
director of a surety bond or cash bond in the penal sum of not less than five
thousand dollars ($5,000), or more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) as
determined by the director based on the applicant's history of compliance with
well drilling laws and rules, the size and depth of the wells the applicant
proposes to drill, the complexity of the wells, the resource to be recovered,
the area of operation of the applicant, and other relevant factors the
director determines are in the public interest. The surety or cash bond shall
be conditioned upon the proper compliance with the provisions of this chapter,
chapter 40, title 42, Idaho Code, and rules promulgated pursuant thereto. Such
bond shall be made payable to the director.
    (8)  Employees of drilling firms, copartnerships, corporations or
associations are authorized to operate drilling equipment for the driller
after obtaining an operator's permit from the director. Such employees shall
be designated as operators.
    (a)  A driller is responsible for adequate supervision of the operators
    during the construction of each well. A driller shall be responsible for
    the work of the operators employed by the driller.
    (b)  An operator shall only operate drilling equipment for the driller
    listed on the operator's permit.
    (c)  An operator's permit shall be obtained by filing with the director an
    application in writing on a form provided by the director accompanied by a
    twenty-five dollar ($25.00) application fee.
    (d)  The applicant for an operator's permit shall successfully complete a
    written or oral examination.
    (e)  The water resource board shall adopt rules for the issuance,
    revocation  and renewal of an operator's permit in accordance with chapter
    52, title 67, Idaho Code. The board is also authorized to adopt rules on
    professional responsibility and continuing education requirements not to
    exceed twenty (20) hours during each permitting period. The rules shall
    consider such factors as:
         (i)   Knowledge of Idaho water laws and the rules of the water
         resource board in connection with the drilling of wells;
         (ii)  Demonstrated previous compliance with well drilling laws and
         rules including well construction standards; and
         (iii) General understanding of well drilling equipment, well
         construction techniques, basic geology and map reading.
    (9)  Driller's licenses and operator's permits issued under this section
shall expire on March 31 in the second year after issuance or upon revocation
of the license by the director as provided for in this act. The driller's
license can be renewed effective April 1 of every other year upon written
application on forms provided by the director and the filing of a one hundred
dollar ($100) renewal fee plus a fifteen dollar ($15.00) renewal fee for each
operator employed by the licensed driller. Drillers renewing licenses in 1997
shall be assessed a licensing fee prorated monthly based upon the annual fee
schedule. Thereafter, driller licenses and operator permits will be renewed
upon expiration for a two (2) year period. Documents demonstrating compliance
with the continuing education requirements of the rules shall be submitted to
the director along with other license and permit renewal documents. The
renewal request must be accompanied by a new bond or evidence that the
previous bond is still in effect. The renewal may then be granted by the
director if he determines that the driller or operator has complied with the
rules promulgated pursuant to this act. The fees collected for the licensing
of well drillers and permitting of operators are nonrefundable and shall be
deposited in the water administration fund with the state treasurer with other
fees collected by the director.
    (10) The licensed driller and permitted operators shall have a card on
hand, provided by the director to indicate that the driller or operator is
presently licensed or permitted at all times when he is operating the drilling
equipment. The director may also require other identification to be posted on
the drilling equipment as he deems helpful in the administration of this act.
    (11) Well driller's report. In order to enable a comprehensive survey of
the extent and occurrence of the state's ground water resource, every well
driller is hereby required to keep available for inspection at the well site a
daily well log and pertinent data concerning each well, and its construction
or abandonment, that is constructed or abandoned under the driller's direction
in Idaho, including wells excepted under sections 42-227 and 42-228, Idaho
Code, and complete a report on forms furnished by the director. These reports
shall be properly prepared and signed by the driller and deposited with the
director within thirty (30) days following the completion of the well. When
the driller signs the report, the driller shall attest that all information on
the report is accurate to the best of the driller's knowledge and that the
driller has met all minimum well construction standards, low temperature
geothermal resource well construction standards, geothermal resource well
construction standards and area of drilling concern standards as adopted by
the water resource board. The reports shall become a permanent record in the
office of the director for hydrologic and geologic analysis and research, and
shall be available for public use. The report shall include such data as the
director deems necessary to provide the information that will be valuable for
future reference and study.
    (12) Well construction standards. The water resource board shall adopt
minimum  standards for new well construction, modification and abandonment of
existing wells, low temperature geothermal resource well construction and
geothermal well construction in this state under the provisions of chapter 52,
title 67, Idaho Code. Such standards shall require each well to be so
constructed as to protect the ground water of the state from waste and
contamination and may include additional requirements for wells drilled in
"areas of drilling concern" as designated in accordance with subsection (15)
of this section. Every licensed well driller will be furnished a copy of the
adopted standards by the director, and will be required to construct or
abandon each well in compliance with the adopted standards.
    (13) Penalties for violation. Drilling of a well without first obtaining a
license as required in this section shall be a criminal misdemeanor, and the
employees of the department of water resources are hereby empowered to issue
Idaho uniform citations, as provided by the rules of the court for
magistrate's division of the district court, to any person who drills a well
without first obtaining the required license. When the director of the
department of water resources determines that any person is in substantial
violation of any provision of this section or any rule, permit, condition of
approval or order issued or promulgated pursuant to this section, the director
may commence an administrative enforcement action by issuing a written notice
of violation in accordance with the provisions of section 42-1701B, Idaho
Code.  Failure of the driller to comply with the provisions of section
42-238(11), Idaho Code, will allow the director to proceed to collect the
necessary data on the well or wells in any manner available to him, and the
cost of this data collection may be charged against the driller's bond in the
amount of the expenses incurred up to the total amount of the bond.
    (a)  Failure of the driller to comply with the provisions of section
    42-238(11), Idaho Code, is also cause for the director to revoke an active
    license, or refuse to renew a license, until such time as the well
    driller's report or reports are properly completed and on file in the
    office of the director. If it is found that a driller has intentionally
    submitted inaccurate or false information in the signed well driller's
    report as provided in subsection (11) of this section, or has failed to
    file a report within the time frame required, the driller shall be liable
    for a civil penalty as provided in section 42-1701B, Idaho Code. In
    addition, this shall be cause for the director to suspend an active
    license for a period not in excess of one (1) year or to not renew a
    license.
    (b)  Failure of the driller to comply with the provisions of section
    42-238(12), Idaho Code, will allow the director to proceed to repair,
    reconstruct or abandon a well so that it complies with the adopted minimum
    standards of well construction and abandonment, and the costs of this work
    may be charged against the driller's bond in the amount of the expenses
    incurred up to the total amount of the bond.
    (c)  Failure of the driller to comply with the provisions of section
    42-238(12), Idaho Code, is also cause for the director to revoke an active
    license or refuse to renew a license until such time as the well driller
    has repaired or reconstructed the well or wells so that they meet the
    adopted minimum standards. Any driller, well owner or well pump installer
    causing a well to be altered or modified so as to not meet the
    construction standards provided for under this section, shall be deemed to
    have violated the provisions of this section and shall be subject to the
    enforcement provisions of section 42-1701B, Idaho Code. The director may
    also require that the well driller present evidence to show that he and
    his equipment are now capable of constructing a well in a proper manner,
    before the license is renewed.
    (14) Appeals. Refusal to issue, refusal to renew, or revocation of a well
driller's license or operator's permit by the director shall be cause for the
well driller to seek a public hearing before the water resource board. No
formal petition shall be required from the affected driller or operator, but a
simple statement, in writing, requesting a hearing shall be sufficient. The
board shall notify the driller or operator, and the director, of the date set
for the hearing, which shall be at least fifteen (15) days after the notice is
sent by certified mail to the well driller or operator at his address of
record with the department. A certified transcript of the proceedings and the
evidence received at such hearing shall be maintained by the board. The board
shall affirm, modify or reject the director's decision, and make its decision
in the form of an order to the director. The hearing shall be conducted in
accordance with chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code, and rules of practice and
procedure adopted by the water resource board. Any party to the hearing may
seek judicial review of any final order of the water resource board pursuant
to chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code.
    (15) Drilling in a designated "area of drilling concern." The director of
the department of water resources may designate as he determines necessary,
"areas of drilling concern" on an aquifer by aquifer basis within which
drillers must comply with the additional requirements of this section. The
director shall designate "areas of drilling concern" to protect public health
and to prevent waste or contamination of ground or surface water because of
factors such as aquifer pressure, vertical depth of the aquifer, warm or hot
ground water, or contaminated ground or surface waters. It is unlawful for any
person not meeting the requirements of this subsection to drill a well for any
purpose in a designated "area of drilling concern." Any person drilling a new
well or deepening or modifying an existing well for any purpose in an "area of
drilling concern" as designated by the director as herein provided shall
comply with the following additional requirements:
    (a)  Additional bonding requirements, as determined by the director, to
    insure that the well is constructed or abandoned in compliance with the
    adopted standards for well construction.
    (b)  Additional experience and knowledge in drilling wells encountering
    warm water or pressurized aquifers as required by rules adopted by the
    water resource board.
    (c)  Document that specialized equipment needed to drill wells in "areas
    of drilling concern," as determined by the director, is or will be
    available to the driller.
    (d)  Provide a notice of intent to drill, deepen or modify a well, submit
    plans and specifications for the well and a description of the drilling
    methods that will be used, as required by the director, and receive the
    written approval of the director before commencing to drill, deepen, or
    modify any well in a designated "area of drilling concern."
    Prior to designating an "area of drilling concern," the director shall
conduct a public hearing in or near the area to determine the public interest
concerning the designation. Notice of the hearing shall be published in two
(2) consecutive weekly issues of a newspaper of general circulation in the
area prior to the date set for hearing.
    In the event an area has been designated as an "area of drilling concern"
and the director of the department of water resources desires to remove such
designation or modify the boundaries thereof, he shall likewise conduct a
public hearing following similar publication of notice prior to taking such
action.

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