Drinking Water

Program Overview
The Yakima Health District’s drinking water program helps protect the health and safety of the community by assuring safe and reliable drinking water. The drinking water program divides wells and water systems into 4 categories, each of which has different levels of oversight and different standards that they must meet. The different types of water systems are:
  • Individual wells that serve 1 residential dwelling unit (single family residence)
  • 2-Party (or shared) wells that serve 2 residential dwelling units or 1 or 2 businesses serving less than 25 people and customers per day
  • Group B Community Water Systems which serve 3 to 14 residential dwelling units (single family residences)
  • Group A Community Water Systems which serve 15 or more connections or serve 25 or more people per day for 60 or more days per year
In addition to assisting with the 4 types of water systems, the Yakima Health District also inspects newly drilled wells in Yakima County for compliance with the Department of Ecology’s well drilling standards (WAC 173-360).

Individual Wells

The Yakima Health District defines individual wells as a well that serves 1 residential dwelling unit. A residential dwelling unit is a single family residence. These wells have the least amount of oversight and regulation. They are required to meet the well drilling standards in, WAC 173-360, but beyond that, they are the responsibility of the well owner to maintain and operate.

2-Party (or Shared) Wells
The Yakima Health District defines shared wells as a well that serves 2 residential dwelling units (2 houses, a duplex, a house and accessory apartment, etc.) or a well that serves a structure such as a business, club house, meeting hall, church, etc. that serves less than 25 people per day. The latter may also be in the shared well class if it serves more than 25 people per day as long as it is for less than 60 days per year.

An approval from the Yakima Health District is required for shared wells. This approval involves assessing the area within 100 feet of the well for potential sources of contamination, the well construction, some water testing (coliform and nitrate tests) and the requirement for a water user’s agreement and covenant. A shared well approval guidance can be downloaded by visiting the Forms and Resources page.

Group B Community Water Systems

Group B Community Water Systems serve 3 to 14 houses as long as the number of people living in those houses totals less than 25. If the system serves 25 or more people per day for fewer than 60 days per year, it is also classed as a Group B Community Water System. Group B Community Water Systems are regulated under, WAC 246-291. The Yakima Health District is responsible for regulating Group B Community Water Systems that have 3 to 9 connections. This includes approving new (or existing unapproved) Group B Water Systems, making sure appropriate follow-up is done when a Group B Community Water System has a bad monitoring sample, verifying that the system is currently in compliance with the regulations (usually for mortgage purposes), approving additional connections to an existing system, and other things.

The Washington State Department of Health is responsible for Group B Community Water Systems that have 10 to 14 connections. Some regulations require water sources be approved as a community water supply regardless of the number of people they serve. An example of this is the food regulation (WAC 246-215) which requires all food services to have an approved water supply.

The requirements for approval of a Group B Community Water System are much more extensive than for a 2-Party (or shared) well. Contact the Yakima Health District for details on the Group B Community Water System requirements.

Group A Community Water Systems
Group A Community Water Systems are systems the serve 25 or more people per day for 60 or more days per year or the system serves more than 1,000 people per day for 2 consecutive days.

Group A Community Water Systems are approved and regulated by the Washington State Department of Health under, WAC 246-290. The Yakima Health District assists the Washington State Department of Health by doing well site approvals for Group A Community Water Systems, performing sanitary surveys (inspections) at the request of the State, and other actions as needed at the request of the state. Contact the Washington State Department of Health, Drinking Water Division for details on the approval and regulation of Group A Community Water Systems (509-329-2100).

Well Drilling Inspections
By agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Yakima Health District performs inspections of newly drilled wells to verify compliance with the well drilling regulations (WAC 173-360). The Yakima Health District does not inspect wells that are within the boundaries of the Yakama Indian Reservation.

Assistance With Questions Regarding Water Quality

The Yakima Health District will help any caller who has questions regarding the well(s) or water testing results. Call the Environmental Help Desk at 509-249-6508 for assistance.

Mortgage Reviews
The Yakima Health District offers a service where Health District staff will inspect and bacteriologically test a well, and then write a letter report on the findings. This service is not required by law, but is offered to satisfy lending requirements for mortgages. A mortgage review can be for just the water system, just the septic system, or both.