Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Groundwater protection when drilling or boring on a construction site

Preventing groundwater pollution when drilling or boring

What you must do

Make sure that your boreholes are properly designed and installed. If your land is contaminated, poorly designed and installed boreholes could cause water pollution and you could be prosecuted by your environmental regulator.

In Scotland you must:

  • Protect boreholes from contamination while they are open
  • back fill or seal boreholes that are no  longer required to prevent water of a different chemical composition entering any groundwater or ground water escaping
  • make sure there is no contamination of the water environment during drilling, use or sealing of boreholes.

Good practice

If you leave boreholes open or fill them incorrectly, there is an increased risk of groundwater pollution.

Comply with the work specification when backfilling or capping boreholes.

Always check that your site investigation takes into account the presence of land contamination and the potential for causing pollution.

Drilling and boring can mix up the layers of soil as they are excavated. This can move contaminants deeper into the ground, causing pollution of groundwater or creating pathways for contaminants to move around. Make sure that the design of your site investigation takes this into account.

Watch our short video:

How to manage water on a construction site

Further information

Site investigation and sampling to assess contamination

In this guideline

Bunds for oil and chemical storage on construction sites

Controlling surface water runoff from works near water

Dealing with silty water from construction sites

Dewatering excavations on a construction site

Oil Separators for construction sites

Groundwater protection when drilling or boring on a construction site

Sediment control using tanks or silt ponds on construction sites

Slurry (liquid wastes) from construction sites

Wheel washing on construction sites

Working close to water for construction sites

Construction phase SuDS

Drip trays to prevent spills on site

Working close to water for demolition businesses

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