The Catawba County Private Water Supply Wells Program supervises the siting, installation and protection of private water supplies, and monitors the performance of well contractors in Catawba County. Maintaining clean drinking water for families and businesses is important to the overall health of individuals and the community as a whole.
When applying for well or septic system permits, read the overview of the Application, Evaluation and Permitting process for wells. Applications cannot be processed until all required information is received.
- When applying for well permits, read the Well Information Sheet carefully.
- Download and fill out the well application and bring it to the Catawba County Permit Center on the main floor of the Government Center at 25 Government Drive. in Newton, or mail it to Catawba County Environmental Health at P.O. Box 389, Newton, NC 28658, together with the permit fee and all required additional information and documents.
- You must have zoning approval before your application will be processed.
- Well permits require that you include a plat or GIS printout of the property with locations of structures (or proposed structures), driveways, rights of way, existing wells or septic systems, streams, gullies, and other features drawn in.
- For new construction or on vacant lots, applicants must prepare the property for evaluation by staking and stringing the property lines, the location of any proposed structure, the proposed location of the driveway, and any other structures such as pools, decks, gazebos, etc.
- Once the application is returned and property is prepared for evaluation, applicants should call the Environmental Health Specialist for their area to arrange a visit.
- Applicants must also post this sign at the property to be evaluated so the Environmental Health Specialist can locate it.
- The Environmental Health Specialist will arrange to visit the property to perform the service for which the applicant has applied.
Drilled wells are typically created with an air rotary drill, a good method for drilling into medium-packed to hard-packed bedrock to access ground water. Drilled wells are cased in 6 inch polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping or steel casing from the surface through the first five feet of hard-packed rock to guard against mud and other contaminants from entering the water. The casing is also grouted to a point 20 feet below the surface. The amount of water obtained from drilled wells will depend on the number and size of the fractures made by the bore hole in the bedrock, and may range from 1/2 a gallon per minute to 100 gallons per minute. This type of well is usually not affected by short-term drought conditions because of the natural geology and the ways in which water reacts with land in Piedmont North Carolina. Drilled wells may sometimes have excessive mineral content, particularly with iron, iron sulfide, manganese, magnesium and calcium, which can only be removed by filtration.
Bored wells are constructed with an auger that digs until it reaches the water table or encounters a material such as rock, which restricts or stops the auger. Bored wells are shallow and draw water from sections of the earth above the bedrock. The amount of water obtained will depend directly on the level of water in the water table and how quickly the well is able to refill. Bored wells are cased by 24-inch diameter concrete pipe, which is set when it reaches the water table. Pea gravel is placed in the bottom of well and poured on the outside of the casing to act as a filter to keep out sediment and support the side walls of the bored hole. Bored wells are also grouted on the outside of the casing 20 feet below the surface. Bored wells are the modern version of the older style of dug wells. They are usually more susceptible to changes in the water table from periods of drought or excessive rain. They typically have fewer problems in the Piedmont with excessive minerals in the water such as iron, manganese and calcium, but are more affected by surface water and possible contaminants.
New water systems and water systems that have been under repair must be disinfected before use. Handling and storage of materials, supplies, and equipment during construction make contamination almost certain. Chlorine and chlorine compounds are effective disinfecting agents when properly used. See our guide for Well Disinfection Procedures for more information.
Water samples can be obtained from Catawba County Environmental Health by visiting the Government Center at 25 Government Drive in Newton to submit an application and pay applicable fees. It can also be mailed to Environmental Health at P.O. Box 389, Newton, NC 28658, together with the applicable fee.
Water samples are taken Monday through Thursday.
The Environmental Health Specialist for your area can be found here.
Bacteriological sample results take 4-5 days, chemical sample results take 3-4 weeks and all other sample results take 1-2 months. If a bacteriological sample is for a loan closing, allow 3-4 weeks for collection, transport, and analysis of sample, disinfection of well if sample is positive, and resample.
Applicants should keep a copy of the completed application until the process is complete.
- Well pumps run off of electricity. Do not use a well that has been submerged in water or exposed to flooding conditions. Have all electrical components inspected by a licensed electrician before connecting to a power source.
- Chlorinate/ disinfect the well.
- Test water quality before using the water for any purpose.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large class of more than 40,000 chemical surfactants that have been used since the 1950s in a wide range of household products and industrial applications for items that resist stains, grease and water. These include many common products like stain-resistant carpet, firefighting foam, non-stick cookware, packaging materials, stain and water resistant clothing, protective coatings, metal plating and more. They are man-made chemicals and do not occur naturally, but are now widespread in the environment. PFAS are found in people, wildlife, and fish all over the world. Because some PFAS do not break down easily in the environment, they can stay in people’s bodies a long time. Higher concentrations of PFAS are most frequently found at fire training and fire response sites, industrial sites, landfills, airports and military sites.
Long-term health effects
Because of their chemical properties, PFAS build up in the human body and have been linked in some cases to:
- Increased risk of testicular and kidney cancer
- Liver issues
- Decreased vaccine response
- Decreased fertility
- Low birth weight
- Pregnancy induced hypertension
- Thyroid hormone disruption
- High cholesterol
Drinking water health advisory
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releases drinking water health advisories based on the latest science about the human health risks of chemicals found in drinking water. Health advisories serve as guidance for states and drinking water system operators and are not regulatory or enforceable. Importantly, a health advisory is not a boundary line between “safe” and “dangerous” levels for a chemical. Health advisories are created to inform actions that protect sensitive health groups including pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children, as well as other adults. The EPA has published new drinking water health advisories for PFOA, PFOS, GenX Chemicals, and PFBS.
Read more about these chemicals and the EPA levels here.
What you can do
Residents concerned about exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may want to test their drinking water and install filtration systems if needed. More information can be found here.
- Residents on municipal or community water systems should contact their local utility or water provider first to learn whether PFAS testing has been conducted.
- Residents with wells should follow instructions here.
Answers to frequently asked questions can be found here.
For more information, please contact the NCDHHS Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch at 919-707-5900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.