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Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change

Well Drilling Certificate of Qualification

Who Needs This Certificate of Qualification?
  Anyone who wants to hold themselves out as a well driller on any property which they themselves do not own or lease.
Issuing Department / Agency:

Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change

Where can you get further information?
    Any Regional or District Office of Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change
Application Forms & Process:
  1. Obtain and submit a completed application form.
  2. Following the submission of a completed application and after receiving a follow up from NSECC via letter, contact Nova Scotia Groundwater Association (NSGWA) for the training and exam, for which there are 3 options:
    • Take a training course followed by an exam administered by the NSGWA for a group of applicants (usually at least 3 or more).
    • Obtain a self-study guide from NSGWA in order to challenge the exam.
    • Or

    • Challenge the exam if experience in Groundwater. Please contact if you have obtained Well Drilling experience in another province or country. Documentation of work experience will be required. The corresponding exam must be written and passed by all applicants with foreign experience to become certified in Nova Scotia.
  3. Arrange to take the training and exam. The pass mark is 70% in order to qualify for the next steps in certification. Individuals will be notified of their mark following the exam by NSECC.
  4. Arrange to take a field test through NSGWA.
  5. Applicants will be contacted by NSECC to provide proof of commercial liability insurance and work experience, and pending that information, a certificate of qualification will be issued.
  6. Certifications are valid for four years and are subject to requirements for staying certified as described on this page.
  7. You can get an application form for this Certificate by downloading a form or by contacting the Central Regional Office as listed above. After completing the form, submit it and the appropriate fee to the above address. Applicants for this certification must meet certain requirements, please see Additional Information below.

    The applicant must contact Nova Scotia Groundwater (NSGWA) to arrange training and the exam. Oral examinations are available to those who require them. The exam pass mark is 70% in order to qualify for the next steps in certification. If all requirements are met and the examination is passed, the applicant will then be required to perform a field test.

    Failure of the exam requires waiting a minimum of 90 days from the date of the original exam to re-write the exam. The rewrite is not the same as the original exam. If the applicant is not successful in the field test, they must wait a minimum of 6 months from the date of the original field test for a re-test.

    Applications which have had no follow up in 12 months will expire.

Expiry & Renewal:

This certificate is valid for four years. For re-certification each driller must collect 100 Continuing Education Points (CEP) over a four year period in order to remain qualified to hold a certificate of qualification. See Nova Scotia Ground Water Association website for details. If you join partially through a renewal cycle, the number of points required will be prorated.

A renewal form can be downloaded by clicking here.

Price: (No tax is charged)

New Application & Renewal Fees:

  • $350.00 for one driller and one machine
  • $145.75 for each additional machine

Please make cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance.

Related Requirements:

In preparation for the exam, study material can be obtained from the Nova Scotia Ground Water Association.

Applicant must provide valid Commercial Liability Insurance.

Registration with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks Companies, if applicable.

Additional Information:

The applicant must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Have at least 4000 hours of work experience in operating a well drilling machine while under the supervision of a certified well driller;
  • Successfully complete a written test of competence in well drilling and demonstrate a working knowledge of the Well Construction Regulations;
  • Successfully complete a field test to demonstrate practical knowledge of well construction; and
  • Submit the appropriate fee as indicated above.

For a list of certified well drillers, please click

Requests for accommodation can be emailed to

More information on the Accommodation Policy at Environment and Climate Change.

If the documentation that must accompany an application cannot be obtained for reasons beyond the applicant’s control, the applicant should contact and provide technical reasons why the information cannot be obtained. Examples may include former employers unwilling or unable to provide references or listing of required experience or loss of copy of course graduation information. This may require the program lead to contact former employers or project sites that will only be done with the signed consent of the applicant in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP). If the program technical lead decides that the applicant has met the criteria for the class being applied for, the recommendation for approval will be sent to the administrative staff for consideration. If the program technical lead decides that there is insufficient information to support the applicant’s preferred class, the technical lead may recommend that the applicant be denied certification.

Any reduction of certification class or denial of certification by a decision of an Administrator may appeal that decision to the Minister of Environment within 30 days of the date of the decision letter. The appeal must be submitted on the Notice of Appeal Form accessible at the following website address:

Subject to s.8, if the applicant is unwilling or unable to provide additional information required to process the application, the Department may reject the application. In the case the application is rejected by the Administrator, the decision shall be in writing providing the reasons for the rejection. The applicant may appeal this decision under Section 137 of the Environment Act, which reads; a person who is aggrieved by a decision of an Administrator may appeal that decision to the Minister of Environment within 30 days of the date of the decision letter. The appeal must be submitted on the Notice of Appeal Form accessible at the following website address:

Legislative Authority:
  Environment Act, Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1994-95, Chapter 1, Well Construction Regulations.

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