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Homeowner help
for private wells.
Property transfers
and inspections.
Drillers and installers
resources and information.
Publications
drinking and groundwater.
Contact information
For information on this page, contact:
Liesa Lehmann
Section chief
Private Water Supply

Licenses and registrations

A Wisconsin license or registration is required to engage in the businesses of water well drilling, pump installing and heat exchange drilling. Wisconsin’s licensing and registration program for water well drillers, pump installers and heat exchange drillers is established under section 280.15, Wisconsin Statutes [exit DNR]. The program requirements are in statute and in NR 146, Wisconsin Administrative Code [exit DNR]. Licensing and registration ensures that water well, pump and heat exchange professionals have adequate experience and training to protect the state’s groundwater, provide safe drinking water, and comply with state well, pump and drillhole regulations.

The following sections provide information, application materials and resources for individuals who are interested in becoming licensed as a pump installer, water well driller, or heat exchange driller, or in registering as a business or drilling rig operator.

∗ Note: If you have trouble opening, saving or submitting fillable PDF forms in your web browser, please see the DNR PDF guidance for help.

General information

  • Application process: An application form is required for each license or registration.
  • Examination: Passing an exam is required for each individual license type. Exams are offered 4 times a year at two locations each time. The exams are open book and 3 hours long. The use of electronic devices, except for a calculator provided by the department, is prohibited. Questions are true/false or multiple choice. 75% or higher is a passing score.
  • Fees: No fee is required to apply for a license or take an exam. A fee is required after passing an exam, prior to license issuance. An application fee is required with the application for registration as a business or rig operator.
  • License term and renewal: The initial license or registration will expire December 31 of the calendar year when it is issued. The annual renewal form and fee is required by January 1 each year to continue the license or registration without lapse. A license which lapses longer than 1 year results in having to retake the exam.
  • Continuing education: Each licensed or registered individual is required to obtain continuing education credits every year to be eligible to renew a license or registration for the following year.

Pump installer license

  • Qualifications: No previous pump installing experience is required. See NR146.04(3), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR] for other specific requirements.
  • Application: To apply, complete and submit the Individual Pump Installer License Application Form 3300-013 [PDF]. Submit form by mail to address on form, or by e-mail to judith.gifford@wisconsin.gov. No application fee is required.
  • Exam: A letter of eligibility to take the exam; exam schedule and instructions; and a set of study materials will be sent once DNR has received a complete application. The Pump Installer exam covers new pump installations, existing pump installations, well filling and sealing, property transfer well inspections, driven point well construction, well separation distances, water samples and licensing.
  • Study materials: Focus studying on ch. NR 812 [exit DNR] and ch. NR 146 [exit DNR], Wis. Adm. Codes.
  • License issuance: After passing the exam, submit initial fee of $25 along with a copy of the pass letter (and SS#/FEIN Collection Request Form 9400-568 [PDF] if applicable). Licensee will be notified if a business registration is required. A License Card and “New License Packet” will be sent to the licensee.
  • For more information on Pump Installer Licensing contact Judy Gifford.

Water well driller license

  • Qualifications: Experience constructing potable wells in Wisconsin, under the supervision of a licensed water well driller, is required. See NR146.04(2), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR] for more specific requirements. Applicants who hold a water well driller license in another state may qualify.
  • Application: Contact DNR to discuss experience and other licenses, and to obtain application forms.
  • Exam: If the application is approved, and the department has received 3 months of advance notification prior to drilling for an in-state applicant, the applicant will receive, via e-mail, a notice of eligibility to take the exam; exam schedule and instructions; and a set of study materials will be sent. The Water Well Driller exam covers well separation distances, well construction and grouting, well casing pipe, approvals, well filling and sealing, existing wells, water samples, licensing and geology.
  • Study materials: Focus studying on ch. NR 812 [exit DNR] and ch. NR 146 [exit DNR], Wis. Adm. Codes.
  • License Issuance: After passing the exam, submit initial fee of $50 along with a copy of the pass letter (and SS#/FEIN Collection Request Form 9400-568 [PDF] if applicable). No fee is required if you already hold a Wisconsin Heat Exchange Driller License. A License Card and “New License Packet” will be given to the licensee during a meeting with the local field inspector.
  • For more information on driller licensing, contact Dorie Turpin.

Heat exchange driller license

  • Qualifications: Experience constructing heat exchange drillholes or pressure grouted water wells, under the supervision of a licensed driller, is required. See NR146.04(9), Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR] for specific requirements. Applicants who hold a heat exchange driller license in another state may qualify.
  • Application: Contact DNR to discuss experience and other licenses, and to obtain application forms.
  • Exam: If the application is approved, and the department has received 3 months of notification prior to drilling for an in-state applicant, the applicant will receive via e-mail, a notice of eligibility to take the exam, exam schedule and instructions, and a link to study materials. The heat exchange license exam covers approvals, drillhole separation distances, well casing pipe, drillhole filling and sealing, grout calculations and licensing.
  • Study materials: Focus studying on ch. NR 812 [exit DNR] and ch. NR 146 [exit DNR], Wis. Adm. Codes and documents available at heat exchange drilling.
  • License issuance: After passing the exam, submit initial fee of $50 along with a copy of the pass letter (and SS#/FEIN Collection Request Form 9400-568 [PDF] if applicable). No fee is required if you already hold a Wisconsin Water Well Driller license. A License Card and “New License Packet” will be mailed to the licensee.
  • For more information on driller licensing contact Dorie Turpin.

Business registrations

Drilling rig operator registrations

  • Qualifications: No experience is required to become registered as a drilling rig operator.
  • Purpose: A rig operator must be registered while gaining experience to qualify for a driller license. Holding a registration allows a rig operator to perform drilling activities alone (except for their first 10 wells or drillholes).
  • Individual Water Well Drilling Rig Operator Registration Form 3300-015 [PDF]
    • Fee $25, if not already a registered Heat Exchange Drilling Rig Operator
    • Must be employed by and under the supervision of a licensed Water Well Driller
  • Individual Heat Exchange Drilling Rig Operator Registration Form 3300-306 [PDF]
    • Fee $25, if not already a registered Water Well Drilling Rig Operator
    • Must be employed by and under the supervision of a licensed Heat Exchange Driller

Licenses to perform well filling and sealing

  • Requirement: To perform well filling and sealing, an individual must either hold a pump installer or water well driller license, or be employed by and working under the supervision of a license holder. To perform heat exchange drillhole filling and sealing, an individual must either hold a heat exchange driller license, or be employed by and working under the supervision of a heat exchange driller.

Licenses to perform property transfer well inspections

  • Requirement: To perform property transfer well inspections, an individual must either hold a pump installer or water well driller license. It is not permissible to perform inspections under the supervision of a licensed individual. For more information, see Property Transfer Well Inspections.

Monitoring well construction or filling and sealing

No license is required to construct or fill and seal monitoring wells in Wisconsin. The work must be performed in accordance with NR 141, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR] and any approvals issued by DNR.

Last revised: Thursday March 10 2016