Updated 2/1/2018 On January 19, 2018 Governor Inslee signed ESSB 6091 which became effective immediately. The new state law addresses the use of permit exempt water withdrawals for development purposes. On Tuesday January 30, 2018 the Whatcom County Council passed Emergency Interim Ordinance 2018-001 enacting the provisions of ESSB 6091 for the Nooksack River Basin (WRIA 1) portions of the county. This Emergency Ordinance will allow citizens to obtain building permits with a new permit exempt well as their approved water source for domestic use (in most areas of the county) subject to certain conditions including:
Water shall be for domestic use only, with a maximum annual average withdrawal of 3,000 gallons per day per connection.
The applicant shall record with the property title any relevant restrictions or limitations associated with water supply; and
The applicant shall pay a $500 fee to the county for each project permit.
Existing wells legally constructed prior to January 19, 2018 are considered an adequate water supply for the intended purposes and are not subject to the conditions above. In addition, the above conditions do not apply to Point Roberts, Lummi Island, Eliza Island or portions of the county within the Samish River Basin (WRIA 3).
As with all building permits, approved water availability must first be obtained from the Whatcom County Health Department. Once you have approved water availability from the Health Department, you can start the permitting process.
If you have questions regarding water availability requirements associated with the passage of ESSB 6091 and Emergency Interim Ordinance 2018-001 as they may relate to a specific property, please contact the Whatcom County Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-6000 or Whatcom County Planning and Development Services at email@example.com or 360-778-5900.
As updates become available, we will keep you informed on this website. We have created a news flash item that you can subscribe to and when new information is posted related to water issues, you will receive notification. The process is simple using the Notify Me application on the website--scroll down to the News Flash Heading then choose Planning and Development Services Exempt well/water information category and click on the e-mail icon on the left to receive email notification of updates.
The links below provide more detailed information.