County puts a kink in well code proposal

Residents looking to drill a new well on their property may want to wait another couple of weeks. The Board of Supervisors postponed approval of a new ordinance concerning wells during its meeting on Tuesday to its first meeting in February.

The Board decided to postpone approval of the new ordinance in order to allow the County Department of Public Health to gather more information and seek other options from drilling companies in the county.

The new ordinance, proposed by the County Department of Public Health, would have required that all wells be drilled at least 50 feet from a property line on all properties that are 5 acres or less. The ordinance is based on a similar well code from Yavapai County.

It would have also added a $30 fee to review plans for wells that do not meet the 50-foot setback requirement.

The idea behind the proposed ordinance was to prevent a neighboring property from becoming useless and prevent conflicts between neighbors. State law requires that all septic systems be at least 50 feet from a property line and 100 feet from a private water source, such as a well. Environmental Health Manager Rachel Patterson said the department had experienced some problems where a property owner had drilled a well on the property line between his and his neighbor's property, then because of the location of the well, the neighbor was unable to meet the setback requirements for a septic system and was unable to develop his property.

The department has encountered this problem a number of times in the Hualapai Mountain area, Patterson said.

Supervisor Buster Johnson questioned the necessity of the ordinance since the county already had a requirement that septic systems be at least 50 feet from a property line. He also asked if the new ordinance wouldn't create more of a problem rather than less of a problem.

Amanda Kaufman from Brown Drilling in Kingman also voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance causing more problems rather than less with neighbors.

Residents who own lots that are less than an acre in size and have an unusual shape may find themselves in conflict with the proposed ordinance, she said.