How to apply for well interference reimbursement
As part of a relief package to address impacts of the 2021 drought, the Minnesota Legislature provided funding to the DNR to reimburse people who paid for costs associated with restoring a water supply as a result of a well interference. If your well was out of water due to a well interference between May 1, 2021 and December 30, 2021 you may be eligible for reimbursement to cover the costs you incurred to restore a water supply for a domestic well or public or private water supply. Domestic well owners, public and private water suppliers and high capacity water appropriators that paid for costs to restore a water supply or construct a new well during that time period are eligible. Please complete the application form below with a brief description of what happened to your well/water supply in 2021, what date the well interference occurred and what the well driller/contractor did to improve your water supply. Also include an IRS W-9 form, a well log or well and boring report of the well that was interfered with and submit it with your receipts for the work that was completed to the DNR either through email or regular United States Postal Service mail.
Adobe Acrobat is needed to complete these forms.
Submit your completed forms by 4:30 p.m. May 1, 2023 to the email address: [email protected].
If you have questions about submitting your application and the required information please contact Dan Miller at 651-259-5731 or [email protected].
What is a well interference?
Blaine-Ham Lake Private Well Issues:
Some residents with private wells in the Blaine and Ham Lake area are experiencing water supply issues due to low groundwater levels. The DNR is investigating the cause of the problem and who, if anyone, is responsible for reimbursing private well owners for the costs incurred to restore their water supply. If you have recently had to lower/replace your well pump or drill a new well, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Follow the “What to do if you run out of water” instructions below or contact the State Well Interference Coordinator 651-259-5034 or [email protected]
When a pump draws water from a well, it causes the water level in the surrounding aquifer to go down. Sometimes the water level falls below the reach of other, shallower wells, and those wells go out of water. When that happens, it is called a “well interference.”
Homeowners should first contact a licensed well driller and have their water supply restored. Sometimes wells go out of water due to a mechanical problem which can be fixed by a well driller and is not caused by well interference. Keep all related receipts.
When the well owner suspects that the lack of water was caused by a nearby high-capacity groundwater user, the well owner can file a complaint with the DNR. Examples of high-capacity groundwater users/appropriators include industries, irrigators, public water supplies, or quarries.
The DNR then conducts an investigation to determine what caused the lack of water situation. If the Well Interference Investigation finds that the complaint is valid a settlement can be negotiated with the high-capacity water user(s) to reimburse homeowners for some or all of their costs to restore their domestic water supply. The timeline from submitting a complaint to closing the investigation typically takes three to six months.
- What to do if you run out of water
- Call a licensed well contractor (driller). Have your well serviced, pump lowered, or a new well drilled in order to restore your water supply. Keep the receipts.
- If you suspect that your well’s lack of water was caused by a nearby high-volume groundwater user(s), you may contact the user(s) and let them know your well went out of water. If you are comfortable doing so, try to work out a solution together.
- If you have not been able to work out a financial agreement with the neighboring high-volume well owner(s) and you wish to file a complaint with the DNR, fill out the Water Well Information and Complaint Questionnaire form. A licensed well driller will also need to complete and sign parts of the form to certify that your well is in good working order. If you do not have computer access, the DNR will mail you the form and instructions. Some well drillers carry the forms in their vehicle.
- If you purchase water or pay for a well inspection or repair, keep the receipts. Your costs can be part of the negotiated settlement if the DNR determines that you went out of water because of nearby high-capacity wells.
- Do not seal the old well if you plan to file a Well Interference Complaint! If you seal your old well, the law states that the DNR cannot investigate and your complaint will be dismissed.
- Submit the completed complaint form to the DNR by mail, or scan and email to the regional contact listed on the first page of the form.
- See the Well Interference Investigation Process for next steps.
- Well interference investigation process
Once a completed Water Well Complaint Form is submitted to the DNR the investigation begins. You need to have a licensed well driller inspect the well and complete part of the form. The DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division will make an on-site investigation. If the timing works out, the DNR may make the site visit at the same time as the well driller. Nearby high-capacity water-users may also wish to inspect the well.
It usually takes several weeks to several months for the DNR to investigate a well interference complaint and compile a Technical Report. When the investigation is complete, the DNR determines if the complaint is “Valid” (caused by high-capacity wells) or “Not valid” (not caused by high-capacity wells). If the investigation is found Valid and finds evidence that nearby high-capacity pumping has significantly lowered the water level in the domestic well, the high-capacity user may be responsible for partially or fully reimbursing the cost of restoring a water supply.
Alternately, the appropriator can request a modification or restriction of their permit OR they can request a public hearing. In most cases the appropriator chooses to settle by paying all or part of the costs incurred by the domestic well owner.
While the DNR is investigating, we will not share personal identifying information about you with nearby high-volume appropriators. When the investigation is complete, your name and location will be shared with nearby high-volume appropriators as part of the DNR’s report.
In the Forms and Fact Sheets section below, see the Well Interference Process Flow Chart for more details.
- Water availability rights and possible outcomes
In Minnesota, domestic water supplies have the highest priority when supplies are limited, as established by Minnesota Statute 103G.261.
Domestic well owners and municipal water suppliers that go out of water and suspect the situation is caused by a high-capacity well can submit a well interference complaint to the DNR. The DNR then investigates the complaint in accordance with the process described in Minnesota rules 6115.0730.
What are the possible outcomes of an investigation?
- Active investigation: These are cases where the DNR is investigating to determine the whether the lack of water was caused by high-capacity appropriator(s). These may also be locations where the DNR has high concern for a public water-supply well. Eventually these will be resolved.
- Resolved by nearby appropriators: These are cases where the DNR received a well interference complaint and nearby appropriator(s) paid to have the complainant’s water restored before the DNR completed the investigation.
- Valid: These are cases where the DNR has received a well interference complaint, conducted an investigation, and determined that the lack of water was caused by nearby appropriators.
- Not valid: These are cases where the DNR received a well interference complaint, conducted an investigation, and determined that the lack of water was not caused by nearby appropriators.
- Dismissed: DNR received well interference complaint but there was not enough information to determine if the complaint was valid or the domestic well was not up to well code.
- Forms and fact sheets
Contact your DNR Area Hydrologist or the State Well Interference Coordinator (651-259-5654 or [email protected]) if you have questions.