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House Environmental Committee OKs Water Well Standards Bill

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday amended and reported out  legislation authorizing the state to set standards for the construction of drinking water wells.

The legislation-- House Bill 343 (Miller-R-York)-- was amended to adopt water well construction standards established by the National Groundwater Association rather than authorizing the Environmental Quality Board to establish standards by regulation.  The bill was also amended to prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits or charge for individual private water wells.

Some 20,000 new water wells are drilled each year in Pennsylvania, but the Commonwealth is one of the few states without private well regulations.  More than 3 million Pennsylvanians rely on about 1 million private wells for drinking water. 

Improperly constructed water wells can lead to poor water quality by providing pathways for bacteria and contaminants such as naturally occurring shallow methane gas to migrate into water supplies.  Ensuring that the well is constructed properly from the start will help to prevent water quality problems in the future.

The bill was reported to the full House and then referred to the House Rules Committee.

Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) serves as Majority Chair and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair.


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