ORS 537.787¹
Investigation of violation of ground water laws
  • remedies for violation

(1) The Water Resources Commission, upon the commission’s own initiative, or upon complaint alleging violation of any provision of ORS 537.505 (Short title) to 537.795 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 supplementary) and 537.992 (Civil penalties), or any rule adopted pursuant thereto, may investigate to determine whether a violation has occurred. If the investigation indicates that a violation has occurred, the commission shall notify the persons responsible for the violation, including:

(a) Any well constructor involved; and

(b) The landowner, if the violation involves construction, alteration, operation, abandonment or conversion of a well.

(2) If, after notice and opportunity for hearing under ORS chapter 183 the commission determines that one or more violations have occurred, the commission may:

(a) Provide additional time for remedy of the violation if the commission has reason to believe adequate repair or other remedy will be carried out within the specified period.

(b) If one or more persons responsible for the violation hold a water well constructor’s license, suspend, revoke or refuse to renew the license.

(c) Assess a civil penalty under ORS 537.992 (Civil penalties), on the well constructor or other responsible party, including the landowner if the landowner was involved in the well construction.

(d) If an involved constructor or landowner has a surety bond required by ORS 537.753 (Bond or letter of credit) (1) or (4) in effect, make demand on the bond in an amount not to exceed the cost of remedying the violation.

(e) Impose any reasonable condition on the water well constructor’s license to insure compliance with applicable laws and provide protection to the ground water of the State of Oregon. Such action shall be conducted as a contested case proceeding according to the applicable provisions of ORS chapter 183.

(f) Any other action authorized by law.

(3) The commission may terminate proceedings against a person if:

(a) The landowner does not permit the person involved in proceedings to be present at any inspection made by the commission; or

(b) The commission determines that the person involved in proceedings is capable of complying with recommendations made by the commission, but the landowner does not permit the person to comply with the recommendations. [1985 c.615 §5; 1985 c.673 §199; 1999 c.293 §6]

Notes of Decisions

Water Resources Commission imple­menta­tion and en­force­­ment of state control over inspec­tion and construc­tion of wells is discre­tionary. Ashland Drilling, Inc. v. Jackson County, 168 Or App 624, 4 P3d 748 (2000), Sup Ct review denied

County ordinance pro­vi­sions requiring well construc­tion permit, imposing construc­tion permit fees, regulating well loca­tion, requiring submission of plot plans, and requiring flow testing are preempted by state law. Ashland Drilling, Inc. v. Jackson County, 168 Or App 624, 4 P3d 748 (2000), Sup Ct review denied

County ordinance pro­vi­sions requiring well wa­ter quality testing, requiring inclusion of notice in deed of inadequate wa­ter supply, and regulating subdivision of lands having inadequate wa­ter supply are not preempted by state law. Ashland Drilling, Inc. v. Jackson County, 168 Or App 624, 4 P3d 748 (2000), Sup Ct review denied

Notes of Decisions

Ground Water Act of 1955, construed together with ORS chapter 536, governing ad­min­is­tra­­tion of wa­ter resources generally, cannot be read as expressly prohibiting local bodies from engaging in regulatory ac­tivity consistent with statute or agency regula­tions. Water Resources Dept. v. City of Klamath Falls, 68 Or App 148, 682 P2d 779 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Require­ments for exploring for or produc­tion of geothermal or oil or gas resources, (1974) Vol 37, p 68

Law Review Cita­tions

4 EL 333 (1974); 47 WLR 405 (2011)

Chapter 537

Notes of Decisions

Water control district, in applying for wa­ter appropria­tion permit for hydroelectric project, was exempt from licensing pro­vi­sions of ORS 543.010 (Definitions for ORS 543.010 to 543.610) to 543.620 and needed only to comply with require­ments of this chapter. Steamboaters v. Winchester Water Control Dist., 69 Or App 596, 688 P2d 92 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Reserva­tion to state of “all coal and other minerals” in deed of land by state as reserva­tion of geothermal resources, (1980) Vol 41, p 298

Law Review Cita­tions

11 EL 387 (1981); 16 EL 583, 592 (1986); 28 WLR 285 (1992)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 537—Appropriation of Water Generally, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors537.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 537, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano537.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information