Installing Private Water Supply and Geothermal Wells

Installing Private Water Supply Wells

The construction of a new private water supply or a geothermal well is an activity that is required to have a well site review, issuance of a construction permit, and site inspections when working within Story County.

To start the process of installing your new water supply or geothermal well you will need to click here to be directed to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website to choose a certified well contractor (located under Find a Certified Contractor) and submit an application  for private well construction with the proper permit fee to the Story County Environmental Health Department using Citizenserve, our online permitting portal.

Application For Geothermal Heating & Cooling System Property Tax Exemption

The current permit application fee is $150, with $25 of the total going to the IDNR. After submitting application you will receive a payment due request by email.  You may pay online or send a check to our office.  

Once we have the application and permit fee, we will contact you (and the well contractor) to perform the site review. During this site review we will look at the items listed on the water well setbacks to determine the best placement for the well while conforming to the Iowa Administrative Code 567-49 standards. All setbacks must be maintained for a site to qualify for well installation. Any site that meets these minimum separation distances will qualify as a potential well site.

It should be noted that on parcels or building lots that are small, you may run into site restrictions when dealing with neighboring water supply wells and wastewater treatment systems. The initial site review performed by the Environmental Health Department will look for all existing facilities on local properties and is an important first step in determining proper placement of all needed rural services.


  Minimum Lateral
Distance (feet)
Sources of Contamination Shallow Well    
Deep Well
Formed manure storage structure, confinement building, feedlot solids settling facility, open feedlot 200
Public water supply well 400
  All Wells
Earthen manure storage basin, runoff control basins and anaerobic lagoons (see subrule 49.6(2)) 1000
Domestic wastewater lagoon 400
Sanitary landfills 1000
Preparation or storage area for spray materials, commercial fertilizers or chemicals that may result in groundwater contamination 100
Drainage wells 1000
Conforming wells 10
Nonconforming wells 100
Soil absorption field, any sewage treatment system with an open discharge, pit privy or septic tank discharge line (not conforming to 567—Chapter 69) 100
Septic tank, concrete vault privy, sewer of tightly joined tile or equivalent material, sewer-connected foundation drain, or sewers under pressure 50
Sewer of cast iron with leaded or mechanical joints, sewer of plastic pipe with glued or compression joints, independent clear water drains, cisterns, well pits, or pump house floor drains 10
Hydrants 10
Property lines (unless a mutual easement is signed and recorded by both parties) 4
Liquid hydrocarbon storage tanks 100
Ditches, streams, ponds, or lakes 25
Frost pit 10