California does not currently have a statewide set of guidelines or regulations governing the use of dry wells. The oversight of dry well use generally falls upon local jurisdictions and/or the Regional Water Boards. However, there are approximately 15 states around the country which possess guidelines for siting and construction of dry wells, a registration process, which usually includes payment of a fee, and requirements for maintenance and/or monitoring.
Arizona and Oregon (where dry wells are called Underground Injection Control Systems), for example, use dry wells extensively as stormwater and flood control management tools. However, in California, they are used infrequently and with caution due to the concern that they provide a conduit for contaminants to enter the groundwater.
As part of the City of Elk Grove’s study, a series of factsheets and a literature review will be prepared to provide scientific information on the risks associated with dry well use as well as practices used around the U.S. Links to this information is provided on this project website available here.