Geothermal Wells

Geothermal wells have become more common in our region over the past several decades. They can be the most cost effective method of heating and cooling a home or building while also having a lower environmental impact. Additionally, there may be federal, state or local incentives that make the initial cost more affordable.

Geothermal wells, like private drinking wells, are regulated by COMAR 26.04.04. The siting and installation of a geothermal well as part of an HVAC unit must be reviewed and approved by the Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Health, before it can be installed. It is important to consider the following restrictions before contracting to use a geothermal unit for a home. It is possible that a property may not have the area to install the needed wells. 

The following is a guide to what is required for geothermal wells by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. Closed loop geothermal wells are by far the most common in our area. Keep in mind that if a project is under the review of other agencies, there may be additional requirements. Permits will also be necessary for the installation of the heating and cooling system, in addition to the wells.

Permit Fee: The fee for a permit to drill geothermal wells is $160. This covers up to 20 wells. If more are required, it would be an additional permit application and $160 for every 20 wells or fraction thereof.

Permit: A well permit is required to construct geothermal wells. Only a Master Well Driller licensed by the Maryland Board of Well Drillers may obtain a well permit in Maryland.

Siting:  Must satisfy the following distance requirements:

  • 50’ from a septic system, platted septic area, clay sewer main, sewage force main, infiltrating stormwater management device or other potential sources of contamination
  • 30’ from a structure (open loop wells only)
  • 15’ from a road, right of way or easement
  • 10’ from a property line, another well, swimming pool, pvc or cast iron sewer, stormwater piping, propane tank or other buried utility

Another limitation that must be considered is what area a drilling rig can access on the property. Well rigs are large, heavy machines they are limited by tight spaces and steep slopes. A licensed well driller can help determine what areas of your property may be suitable for drilling. For more information, contact the Well Desk at 410-222-7398 or

Some helpful links:

Maryland Board of Well Drillers Active License Roster

Department of Energy Geothermal Page

Maryland Department of Environment Geothermal Presentation