CONTRACTS - Policy regarding test drilling


December 18, 1961
Code: 4052 0001


To: District Chiefs and Staff Officials, Ground Water Branch

From: Chief, Ground Water Branch

Subject: CONTRACTS - Policy regarding test drilling

This memorandum summarizes policy statements that have been issued during the past several years regarding test-drilling activities
of the Branch. It is being issued at this time to inform new employees of the Branch's policy on test drilling and as a
reminder to those employees who may not have been kept up to date on the policy.

Drilling test holes and observation wells to obtain data on subsurface geologic and hydrologic conditions is an integral and
important part of ground-water investigations and is to be conducted under the supervision of competent technical personnel.

Commercial well-drilling organizations have at times taken the attitude that Survey ownership of well-drilling equipment was an
unnecessary infringement by the Government on free enterprise, as the well drilling industry is capable of undertaking any test
drilling required for ground-water investigations. Consequently, the Ground Water Branch will not own or operate well-drilling
equipment, and all test drilling by the Branch will be done by contracting with private drilling companies on the basis of
competitive bids. This restriction on ownership of drilling equipment does not prevent the Branch from participating in test-
drilling programs where the drilling equipment is owned and operated by the cooperative agency. Sampling of shallow surficial
materials may be done with the use of power equipment maintained and operated by the Branch's equipment rental pool of the
Hydrologic Laboratory. Such operations supersede the type of sampling previously done by laborious hand methods.

Prior to drilling operations, a signed agreement for construction, maintenance, and use of the test hole or observation well must be
obtained from the property owner. Copies of standard agreement forms may be obtained from this office.

Test holes and observation wells drilled as part of ground-water investigations will be used solely to obtain geologic and
hydrologic information. This includes completion, development, and pumping of wells for testing purposes and maintenance as
observation wells for as long a period as is required for ground- water investigations. Holes will not be used nor drilled for
water supply except in the very few special cases where water is needed for facilities, experimental plots, recharge studies, etc.,
for a hydrologic study. When a test hole, observation well, or supply well is no longer needed for investigational purposes, it
will be plugged or filled and the site restored to its original condition.

(s) O. M. Hackett

WRD Distribution: A, B, S3, FO3, SL