Water Well Drilling Contracts: What to Expect
From new water wells to replacement and standby versions, the cost of installing a well represents a significant investment. This is true for your family and the driller who’s committing time, equipment, manpower and expertise to the endeavor.
To ensure the project goes smoothly, the driller should provide a written contract that defines the scope of work. Specifics will vary, but there are standard elements you should expect. Briefly, the contract should address:
- Services. It should specify the services to be provided, intended methods and plan of action. It should detail related services such as deeper drilling, pre- and post-drilling water quality tests, sanitizing the system before use and decommissioning an existing well if necessary.
- Timeline. It should state anticipated start and completion dates and include interim milestones such as site preparation, drilling, pump installation, system check, etc.
- Cost Factors. It should specify known and anticipated costs and define how differences between estimated and actual costs will be billed or credited. Equipment costs are often cited with firm prices, while drilling services and well casing costs are generally charged by the foot. Fees for additional services (deeper drilling, sanitation, testing) should be identified.
- Warranties & Guarantees. It should define service guarantees along with any limitations that apply. Warranties and replacement conditions for installed components or equipment should be detailed, and actions that nullify warranties (such as amateur repairs) should be noted.
- Deposits & Payments. Many drillers require a deposit before work begins, so the contract typically specifies a required amount or percentage and whether or not deposits are refundable. If payments are due at specific stages or you’ve arranged a payment plan, the timing and amounts should be spelled out.
- Permits & Inspections. It should detail who is responsible for obtaining permits, scheduling inspections, paying associated fees and handling follow up if required.
- Site Management. It should detail who is responsible for tree removal, grading and similar activities required to prepare the site for drilling or restore it after work is completed.
- Change Orders. It should explain how to request a change order (usually in writing), how they’re handled, special fees that may apply and how costs associated with change orders will be billed.
- Termination Rights. It should describe the conditions and process under which you or the driller may cancel the agreement and detail any refunds, penalties or cancellation fees that apply.
- Well Log. This confirms the driller will submit a well log or completion report to the state and provide a copy to you. The log identifies the well owner, address, ID number, depth, casing material, testing results and geological conditions.
As with any important document, read the contract with care, request clarifications or revisions if necessary, and get questions answered before you commit.