The Environmental Health Division (Division) Drinking Water Program staff certifies individual potable water sources (private, onsite water well) and oversees the regulation of state small water systems. Division staff will perform site inspections, review water sample results, and issue operating permits for state small water systems in Ventura County.
The Division does not issue well drilling permits. For information on well drilling permits and well pump-and-recovery tests, please contact the Ventura County Public Works Agency, Groundwater Resources Section: https://www.vcpublicworks.org/wpd/groundwaterresources/
Water Program Staff Specialist
THOMAS FIRE AND WOOLSEY-HILL FIRE REBUILDS
The County of Ventura has set up a process to assist survivors of the 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Woolsey-Hill Fires in their rebuilding efforts. If your rebuild includes the use of a private well for domestic water supply, please review the following handout:
Recent testing conducted on drinking water sources in post-wildfire areas in Northern California have revealed the presence of a volatile organic compound (VOC) called benzene. Although testing your private well for benzene is not required as part of the Certification of Water Quality, you may want to independently test your water for benzene or other VOC’s. For more information please check out the following links:
- Volatile Organic Compounds & Drinking Water FAQ Sheet (PDF)
- CDC Facts About Benzene
- Benzene Public Health Statement - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
What is potable water?
The 2016 California Plumbing Code defines potable water as "water that is satisfactory for drinking, culinary, and domestic purposes and that meets the requirements of the Health Authority Having Jurisdiction." The Environmental Health Division has established minimum requirements for individual water systems and state small water systems based on California Plumbing Code, California Health and Safety Code, California Code of Regulations (Title 22), Ventura County Building Code, and Ventura County Ordinance Code.
Individual Water Systems
An Individual Water System refers to a system which supplies drinking water to 1-4 service connections, and serves potable water to less than 25 people annually.
How Do I Certify My Water Well?
2. Water quality analysis (see page 2 of Certification of Water Quality Application). Water samples must be analyzed by a State Certified Laboratory.
- State Certified Laboratories in Ventura County and Kern County - (PDF)
- State Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program - (follow links to interactive GIS map)
3. A plot plan, drawn to scale, identifying the location of the water well, all water lines, water tanks, all structures, septic systems, animal pens, etc. on the subject property.
5. A water well pump-and-recovery test report approved by Ventura County Public Works Agency, Groundwater Resources staff. Pump tests which have not yet been approved by Groundwater Resources will not be accepted.
6. A site visit is conducted prior to final approval. The well must be functional at time of inspection.
State Small Water Systems
A State Small Water System has 5-14 service connections and does not regularly serve drinking water to more than an average of 25 individuals daily for more than 60 days out of the year. State small water systems require an annual permit to operate, and are inspected for construction and maintenance compliance. They are also required to submit bacteriological and chemical water analyses for ongoing water quality monitoring.
How Do I Become a State Small Water System?
2. Submit water quality analytical results, including Bacteriological, Primary and Secondary Inorganic, and Primary Organic drinking water standards as described in California Code of Regulations Title 22, section 64431-A, section 64442, section 64444-A, and section 64449-A and B.
California state statutes and regulations pertaining to state small water systems may be found here.
Routine sampling of the water supply is required for state small water systems. The frequency of routine sampling is based on state regulations, initial water quality analytical results, and subsequent water quality analytical results.
NOTE: All water purveyors, including state small water systems, must have an accepted Water Availability Letter, or WAL, on file with the Ventura County Public Works Agency before any will-serve letters will be accepted by that purveyor for building or discretionary permits. Requirements in the VCWWM are enforced by the Ventura County Public Works Agency, Land Development Services.
- Application for Permit to Purvey Domestic Water
- Frequency of Primary and Secondary Inorganic Chemical Routine Sampling
Click here for Free Small Water System Webinars offered by US EPA.
Public Water Systems
A Public Water Systems has 15 or more service connections, or regularly serves at least 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year. These systems are permitted and regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water. This means that even if your water system has only one connection, if 25 or more people are served by the water system, you are a public water system and must obtain a permit to operate from the State Division of Drinking Water. The Environmental Health Division does not issue permits to, regulate, or inspect public water systems. All questions and complaints related to a public water system should be directed to the water purveyor or to the State Division of Drinking Water.
Not sure what type of water system you are? Check out this Decision Tree for Classification of Water Systems.
Resources for Well Owners
Looking for a California State-certified laboratory to analyze your water well? Check out the California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program interactive map!
Well Completion Report (also known as Water Well Driller’s Report or Well Log) are maintained by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
Click on the links below for more information and recommendations related to well construction and maintenance:
- State Water Resources Control Board: Private Well Owner Information
- USEPA: Private Well Owner Information
What are PFOA and PFOS?
The following information was obtained from the State Water Resources Control Board:
"Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are fluorinated organic chemicals that are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). These manmade substances have been used extensively in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials (e.g., cookware) designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant or non-stick. In addition, they have been used in fire-retarding foam and various industrial processes. People are exposed to PFOS and PFOA through food, food packaging, consumer products, house dust, and drinking water."
Please visit the following links for more information about PFOA and PFAS:
- PFAS Information Webpage - State Water Resources Control Board
- PFAS Online Portal Fact Sheet - State Water Resources Control Board
- PFOA and PFOS Test Results Media Release - State Water Resources Control Board
- PFOA and PFOS Frequently Asked Questions - State Water Resources Control Board
- PFOA and PFOS Groundwater Information Sheet - State Water Resources Control Board
- PFAS Information Webpage - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- PFAS Action Plan Summary - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Drinking Water Wells and Oil/Gas Production
Volatile organic chemicals, otherwise known as VOCs, are carbon-containing compounds that evaporate easily. VOCs are used in a wide variety of human activities, including oil and gas production. If you own a water well in an area where oil and gas production activities take place, you may want to test your water for VOC’s. For more information, check out the Volatile Organic Compounds & Drinking Water FAQ Sheet
Not sure if your property is located near an oil/gas production field? Check out the California Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources Well Finder.
Information on Groundwater Quality in Ventura County
Interested in water quality in Ventura County? Check out the following links!
- Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA)
- Ventura County Public Works Agency Annual Groundwater Report
More Helpful Drinking Water Links
- Water Quality Association Fact Sheets - (Drinking water contaminants and common treatment technologies)
- State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water
- Drinking Water Watch Website for California Public Water Systems
- State DDW Residential Water Treatment Devices Homepage
- Bottled & Vended Water - California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch
- Rural Community Assistance Corporation