Private Well Siting and Construction

Siting Regulations

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's well construction and siting regulations provide minimum distances that some pollution sources should be from a well:

Types of Wells

A video about the three different types of well construction.

There are three types of well construction: dug wells, driven wells, and drilled wells. The pictures and descriptions below may help you determine what type of well construction you have if do not know. Any type of work done on your well should be done by a registered well driller or pump installer.

Dug Well

  • Dug by hand or machine into sand and gravel
  • Lined with pre-cast concrete, stone, or other material. The casing should be grouted with a water tight seal.
  • The casing should be 12 - 18 inches above the ground.
  • 10-30 feet deep
  • Typically older in age
  • When you lift the cover, you will probably see water in the well.
  • Because they are so shallow, a dug well is at a higher risk of pollution

Driven Well

  • From the surface, it may look very similar to the dug well photo above, but when you lift the cover it will look similar in the photo above.
  • The 2 -3 inch diameter well pipe sticking up from the ground and the water line that goes into the house
  • Usually 30 or more feet deep
  • Driven by machine into sand and gravel
  • Well casing should be 12 - 18 inches above the ground

Drilled Well

  • Drilled by machine into sand and gravel, or bedrock
  • Can be 100 feet deep or more
  • Well casing extends 12-18 inches above the surface
  • Well casing is at least 18 feet deep and sealed into the bedrock

A video about the importance of proper well cap construction.

Additional resources:


For more information, contact Alyson McCann, Program Coordinator
Phone: 401-874-5398
E -mail: at

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