County Examples

Water Well Program and Community Outreach Project

Tags: Health

San Luis Obispo County, Calif.

The California drought has contributed to lowering ground water levels within County of San Luis Obispo water basins. This is of particular concern to the region because most of the potable water that serves the County comes from ground water and lowering ground water levels have been found to negatively impact water quality. In response to this negative impact, and to better protect public health, the County of San Luis Obispo, Health Agency Environmental Health Services Division (EHS) worked collaboratively with well drillers, laboratories, hydrogeologists, and other local and state agencies to improve the implementation of the County’s water well construction permitting program to better address ground water quality. Tools were also developed to educate private water well owners about the safe operation of their wells. After consulting with well drillers and a hydrogeologist, criteria was developed for specific water basins within the County that have been the most critically impacted. The criteria includes specific depths that signal when a hydrogeologist and other well drilling monitoring logs will be used by the driller to ensure that lower water quality aquifers will be sealed if they are penetrated so they do not impact higher water quality aquifers. To assist well drillers with the new criteria, a web-based GIS mapping tool was developed so they can identify which ground water basin they are drilling in. Water sampling criteria was also developed to inform property owners about water quality so decisions can be made about whether or not treatment systems should be installed to ensure the water is safe to drink. To better educate private well owners, a YouTube video and a corresponding well owner’s checklist was developed and mailed to assist them with monitoring their wells for safety and water quality. Well construction records were also digitized for better access to information.

Ms. Elizabeth Pozzebon 
Environmental Health Manager

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Under the leadership of NACo Immediate Past President Bryan Desloge, NACo embarked on an initiative to identify and share 100 examples of visionary county leadership that results in improving residents’ quality of life. Through this initiative, NACo worked with county leaders and partners to share best practices that bolster our nation’s ability to thrive county by county.

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