Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Groundwater protection during drilling and boring

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

SEE ALSO: Dewatering during construction

Read about More ways to prevent water pollution on NetRegs

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