The Commissioner of Health has the authority to promulgate rules regulating the construction, repair, and sealing of wells and borings and to vary a rule requirement under certain, unique circumstances. Minnesota Statutes, section 103I.101, subdivision 6, authorizes the Commissioner to charge a fee (currently $235) for processing requests for variance or modification of any rule part. For the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4717, include the general criteria, procedures, and requirements for review and consideration of variance requests. Minnesota Rules, part 4725.0410, detail the specific requirements for variance requests to Minnesota Rules Chapter 4725 (Wells and Borings).
A variance can be granted only to rule. A variance cannot be issued to a statutory requirement. A variance can be issued only for future effect and not after the fact. In other words, a variance cannot be issued to a non-complying installation or activity after that installation or activity has taken place. When applying for a variance, the applicant must explain why the rule requirement cannot be met, demonstrate that the measures to be taken achieve the same level of protection of health and the environment as would be achieved by the rule to be varied, note any hardships posed by meeting the rule requirement, and add any other information relevant to the decision.
Variances are granted only in writing. In granting a variance, the MDH may place conditions on the variance, such as stricter notification to enable inspection, enhanced construction or sealing requirements, testing, reporting, and other measures. Failure to meet the conditions of a variance will void that variance and be considered a violation of rule and statute. In jurisdictions where the well program has been delegated by the MDH, any variance request must be approved by both the MDH and the delegated authority.
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Contact the MDH Well Management Section
651-201-4600 or 800-383-9808
Minnesota Department of Health